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Pentagon Shifts Special Operations Missions To Latin America

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Defense
January 30, 2013

Special Ops Command South Presses for Increased Engagement
By Donna Miles

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“On any given day, I have over 300 people deployed downrange to Central and South America, including members of every service’s special operations force and their civil affairs and military information support teams,” he said. “SOC South is engaged 365 [days a year], 24/7.”

Mulholland cited Colombia as the shining example of what capacity building can achieve.

SOC South’s special operators help partner military and police forces…then embed with them to help them plan and conduct actual missions.

“I’m pushing them out to Honduras, to Colombia, to Peru, and increasing their level of engagement…”

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WASHINGTON: Despite dwindling resources and a national defense focus on the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, the commander of Special Operations Command South is committed to not only maintaining, but increasing engagements in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Regular, sustained engagement is key to SOC South’s core mission: building partner capacity…Army Brig. Gen. Sean P. Mulholland told American Forces Press Service while here for an annual Special Operations and Low-intensity Conflict Symposium and Exhibition.

“On any given day, I have over 300 people deployed downrange to Central and South America, including members of every service’s special operations force and their civil affairs and military information support teams,” he said. “SOC South is engaged 365 [days a year], 24/7.”

A Green Beret who has served most of his career within Latin America, Mulholland said he’s convinced that persistent engagement establishes a level of credibility and trust simply not possible through traditional training and exercise programs. “Building partner capacity is planting seeds” that require nurturing over time, he said.

Since assuming command in October, Mulholland has made a concerted effort to promote these contacts, all governed by the host nation’s requests, in collaboration with the U.S. embassy country team and at the direction of U.S. Southern Command.

Mulholland cited Colombia as the shining example of what capacity building can achieve.

Historically, the FARC – Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – ran rampant in Colombia…But 25 years ago, the Colombian police force was corrupt and the military forces were in disarray.

Today, thanks to strong Colombian leadership and persistent U.S. support and engagement, Colombia has capable, highly respected security forces. In addition to securing their own country, they are now training other regional militaries.

Other success stories can be found in Brazil, which has long stood as a strong example in the region, and increasingly in Panama, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Mulholland acknowledged concerns about Honduras, where constrained resources limit its special operators’ ability to reach ungoverned sections of the country…

“The problem is that the activity is not persistent,” Mulholland said, noting that’s a problem SOC South alone can’t fix.

“Mobility is a big challenge in Honduras, and if you can’t get to the show in these ungoverned spaces, then that is a big issue,” he said.

Mulholland recognized that no matter how much he tries to expand engagements, he’ll never have the assets to keep up with demand. So he seeks out opportunities to partner in countries interested in “training, not just for training’s sake, but to go operational.”

SOC South’s special operators help partner military and police forces…then embed with them to help them plan and conduct actual missions.

This forms a bond simply not possible through traditional schoolhouse training and short-duration exercises, he said.

It’s a formula that’s been tested and proven over time, even while wartime requirements in Iraq and Afghanistan tapped some of SOC South’s personnel and equipment. At one point, for example, Mulholland was serving as commander of the 7th Special Forces Group that focused on Latin America and the Caribbean when he was deployed for a year to Regional Command North in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Mulholland has made a concerted effort to rebuild capabilities that have eroded during the past decade of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s pressing to increase Spanish-language proficiency across the command, speaking only in Spanish to his staff and offering Spanish classes for spouses.

In addition, he’s limiting the time SOC South members spend at their headquarters at Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida.

“I’m pushing them out to Honduras, to Colombia, to Peru, and increasing their level of engagement without breaking their backs,” Mulholland said.

“In these times of reducing resources, we need to push out as much as we can,” he said. “We can’t take on this protracted tortoise mentality, saying we don’t have enough money or resources. Instead, I am going to do everything I can to get more people out there.

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Pentagon Increases Support To French War Effort In Mali

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Defense
January 29, 2013

Air Force Continues Support to France in Mali
By Claudette Roulo

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Air Force continues to back French air operations in Mali through refueling efforts, logistical movements, troop transport and information sharing, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

“Since French operations began Jan. 11, the U.S. has been sharing intelligence with the French,” Little told reporters. The United States has provided airlift support to the French army since Jan. 21, he added, and began refueling support for French air operations Jan. 27.

As of Jan. 27, the U.S. Air Force had flown 17 C-17 sorties, moving more than 391 tons of equipment and supplies and nearly 500 French personnel into Bamako, Little said.

One refueling mission has been conducted so far, Little said, when a KC-135 Stratotanker provided about 33,000 pounds of fuel to French fighter aircraft. More refueling missions are expected to take place today, he added, noting that the United States is in constant consultation with France on their operations in Mali.

Following a phone call between Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and his French counterpart, the United States also has agreed to support the international effort by providing airlift to countries in the region, including Chad and Togo, Little said.

Further French requests for assistance will be reviewed, Little said…

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Anatole France: Emerging painfully from primitive barbarism, war

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Anatole France: Selections on war

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Anatole France
From Monsieur Bergeret In Paris (1901)
Translated by B. Drillien

anatole_france

“No, I don’t believe that men are naturally good,” replied Monsieur Bergeret. “What I see is that they are emerging painfully and very slowly from their primitive barbarism, and that with great effort they are organizing a justice that is uncertain and a charity that is precarious. The time is yet far distant when they will be kind and gentle to one another. The time is yet far distant when they will not war upon one another, and when pictures representing battle scenes will be hidden away as affording an immoral and shameful spectacle. I believe that the reign of violence will last a long time yet, that for many years to come the nations will rend one another asunder for trivial reasons; that for many years to come the people of the same country will desperately snatch from one another the common necessaries of life, instead of equitable dividing them. But I also believe that men are least ferocious when they are least wretched, that in the long run the progress of industry will produce a certain softening of manners. A botanist has assured me that if a hawthorn be transplanted from a stony to a fruitful soil its thorns will change into flowers.”

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“My good friends, follow the example and behold a model in your chiefs, masters and rulers…It is good, profitable and necessary that you appear to desire a favourable, kind, assuaging and purging pacifism. What does it cost you? Naught. And you shall derive therefrom great profit. You that are not pacified shall appear pacified, and the other folk…who are in truth pacified, shall appear unpacified, corrupted, wayward, furious, wholly opposed and contrary to a gracious peace…And say not that this is difficult. It will be as you desire and you will make the simple folk believe that you desire peace. They will believe what you tell them, for they hearken unto you. If you say ‘I desire peace’ they will straightway believe that you do truly desire it. Say it then to give them pleasure, for ’twill cost you not.

“Nevertheless, for your enemies and adversaries which at first so piteously bleated ‘Peace! Peace!’ (for they be gentle as sheep, which cannot be gainsaid) it shall be lawful for you to brain them and say” ‘They desired not peace, therefore we have overthrown them. We do desire peace…’

“It is worthy of all praise pacifically to wage war. Cry ‘Peace, Peace!” and smite the while. This is Christian-like. ‘Peace, Peace, this man is dead! Peace, Peace! I have slain three men!’ Your intention was pacific and you will be judged according to your intention. The bells of the monasteries will ring a merry peal for you that love peace, and the praise of the peaceful citizens will follow you. They, seeing your victims’ gaping bellies lying upon the highway, will say: ‘That is well done! It is for peace’ sake. Long live peace! Without peace no man can live at ease.'” 

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Georg Brandes: Selections on war

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment
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William Blum: “There is a drone with Assange’s name on it”

January 31, 2013 2 comments

Voice of Russia
January 28, 2013

‘There is a drone with Assange’s name on it’ – William Blum
John Robles

Assange will be assassinated if freed, expert says. In an exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia, William Blum, an American author, historian, and critic of United States foreign policy spoke about CIA assassinations (one of his areas of expertise) and some of his past work. Mr. Blum is candid in his assessment of CIA assassination plots against such people as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. He also has some surprising things to say about Julian Assange and Osama bin Laden.

Robles: Hello Mr. Blum, nice to be speaking with you.You have a very long and interesting history…a lot of things you have written. You wrote a book about the CIA. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Blum:Well, American interventions carried out via the CIA and all the U.S. military have been my specialty for many-many years. My books emphasize those things. As does my monthly newsletters “The Anti-Empire Report”.

As far as the backlash: the U.S. government doesn’t bother American authors that much, because they know we don’t have that much influence, they can afford to have us write things and point to that as proof of freedom of speech in America. So they don’t care.

Robles: I see. They said that you had exposed more than 200 CIA employees.

Blum: That was in 1969 when I was working for the “Underground Press” in Washington D.C. and I and a colleague we parked our car outside the CIA headquarters in Virginia and for a couple of hours or so, we recorded the license plate numbers of all the cars going into the CIA. And with that information we were able to compile a list of names and addresses of these people, which we published in our underground newspaper.

Robles: That sounds very interesting! You talked about CIA assassination plots, you’re pretty much an expert on that. Can you tell us a little bit about what you know about the plot to remove Hugo Chavez?

Blum: Assassination attempts? That was in 2004, the U.S. government met with the coup plotters both in Venezuela and Washington and these people then carried out a military coup which overthrew Chavez and the people took him to custody, but he was freed after about two days, because of a combination of public outcry and pressure from the remaining members of the military who were not part of the coup. So then he actually had and still has a lot of support in the military. He, himself was a member of it. So a combination of the military and a public outcry forced the coup plotters to abandon their plans and after two days Chavez was released.

Robles: Can you tell us about your book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”? And could you comment on an endorsement you received, at the time, in 2006 by Osama bin Laden?

Blum: It was supposed to be a mini-encyclopedia of all the nefarious things done by the U.S. foreign policy. There’s a chapter on assassination, a chapter on bombings and so on. There are many chapters covering the gross and illegal aspects of U.S. foreign policy. It’s compiled together many things which most Americans, and most people in the world are not aware of.

Individual elements of each of these compilations one could find in some public area or other but to put it together into long tables of information was my contribution and that came out in about 2000. And then in 2006 the Arabic version of the book, the book had many foreign translations, there were two in Arabic and one of those two was read by Osama bin Laden and he, in one of his periodic audio recordings, mentioned that Americans would be well served if they read my book and get a better understanding of their enemy.

And I can only guess that the theme in that book Rogue State which most caught his attention and his sympathy was one chapter dealing with the motivations of anti-American terrorists. Contrary to what we were being taught, and still now to a large extent, were that these people were: just hated America, or they hated Christianity, or they were just crazy, or they were just envious of democracy and our wealth, all of these reasons, but never even a hint that they were acting out of retribution for the decades of very serious military and other infringements upon people in the Middle East. All kinds of bombings and overthrows of governments, supporting dictatorships, supporting Israel,all kinds of things I gave a long list of the American actions which created all these anti-American terrorists, and that is what I am assuming most appealed to bin Laden.

Robles: What do you know about the assassination plot to kill Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa? Before the elections, he is supposed to be assassinated.

Blum: This month you are speaking about?

Robles: Yes sir. Correa made this statement that they had uncovered a plot to assassinate him before…

Blum: I wouldn’t doubt that. I would be surprised if the CIA did not attempt to assassinate him. I mean among other reasons, he’s sheltering Assange! That by itself is reason to assassinate him.

Robles: Are you saying that just the fact that he’s given asylum to Assange, that’s enough for the CIA to assassinate him?

Blum: The CIA attempts to assassinate people for much less reasons than that. Assange is the public enemy №1 in America. The U.S. is obsessed with him and they are afraid that he will be issuing the release of more classified documents so they’d really like to put him out of the way, if they can.

They were all set to invade the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, when the British government was finally talked out of it by their own people: That it would set a terrible precedent, that the U.K. Embassies all over the world would not be safe then. That was the reason that they called off the invasion plan.

They’re very serious about Assange. I mean he has to go. He’s the most marked man in the world.

Robles: You think so? You said he’s enemy number one of the United States.

Blum: As far as being put out of the way? Yeah. I would say that if the US had a choice it would get him out of the way before anyone else.

Robles: So you think it’s pretty credible his fears of being assassinated by the CIA? Yeah?

Blum: There is a drone somewhere with his name on it, and if he walks around in the world and he is not in the midst of a big city, he’s a marked man. There’s a rocket with his name on it inside of a drone with his name on it. So I can not imagine that would not be the case. The CIA has, if you delve as much as I have into the history of assassinations and so on, that is totally expected.

Robles: So as an expert you are saying that it is totally expected?! Wow! Okay

Blum: If he’s walking around free somewhere. Yeah.

Robles: Sure. I see. I see. Hey Bill thank you very much! I really appreciate you speaking with me!

Closing

End of Part 1

William Blum is the author of several books on US foreign policy. He also sends out a monthly newsletter called “The Anti-Empire Report”

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Space War: U.S.’s Former Nazi Scientists’ Dream Of Ruling World

January 31, 2013 2 comments

Voice of Russia
January 31, 2013

 

‘America’s Nazi scientists fulfilling dream of ruling the world’ – Bruce Gagnon
John Robles

Audio: Download

 

In an exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia, Bruce Gagnon shares little known facts about the militarization of space by the United States, the development of first strike space drones and the foundation of the US military industrial complex by Nazi scientists bent on victory in World War III. If you thought missile defense and drones were bad, you haven’t heard anything yet.

Robles: According to your organization the US Space Command has publicly stated they intent to control space in order to protect US interests and investments. Is space now US territory?

Gagnon: Well, indeed the United States likes to believe that it owns space, and particularly the Space Command, who on their headquarters building in Colorado Springs, just above the doorway they have their logo that reads “Master of Space”. So, I think that it is quite evident that the Space Command does indeed view space as US territory that must be controlled because they clearly understand that all warfare on the earth today is coordinated by space technology and that whoever essentially controls space will control the planet below, in this case on behalf I believe of corporate globalization. And so the Space Command in our thinking has become the military arm of corporate globalization.

And so today the US is developing a whole host of technologies to allow it to fight war from space, through space and in space, controlling not only the Earth but also the pathway on and off the planet Earth, the pathway to other planetary bodies as resources are discovered on other planets: magnesium, cobalt, uranium, gold, water etc.

In a congressional study done back in the 1980s, the Congress gave the Pentagon the mandate to develop the technologies to control the pathway on and off the planet Earth. So, the Space Command sees its role in a very-very robust kind of way.

Robles: Several questions just popped up after what you just said. First one: how do they intend to “control the pathway”, I mean there is not only one pathway off the planet, I mean, how are they going to do that?

Gagnon: Well, in this particular study entitled “Military Space Forces the Next 50 Years”, they talk about the Earth-Moon Gravity Well, that whoever controls the Earth-Moon Gravity Well, essentially with bases on the Moon and armed space stations between, what they said were the L4 and L5 positions in space, they would be able to control these.

And interestingly enough, we know that it was in fact the former Nazi scientists that were brought to the United States following World War II under a program, a secret program, called Operation Paper Clip. These Nazi scientists that ran Hitler’s V1 and V2 rocket programs, they were the first to bring to the Congress of the United States, this idea of having orbiting battle stations controlling the pathway on and off the planet as well as the Earth below.

So, today again there is the whole host of technologies that are being developed by the Space Command. They say at the Pentagon that we are not going to get all of these technologies to work, but through the investment and the research and development in these various technologies, things like “Rods from God”: orbiting battle stations with tungsten-steel rods they would be able to hit targets on the Earth below…

Robles: They call those “Rods from God”?

Gagnon: Yes, they call it “Rods from God”. The new military space plane that is being tested now by the Pentagon, it has shown its ability to stay in orbit for a whole year at a time: an unpiloted space drone essentially. And then with ground stations all over the planet that the United States has established, what they call downlink stations that communicate with US military satellites all over the planet. This whole network has been put into place to really give the US, as they say in one of their planning documents, “control and domination of space”.

Robles: More questions: The space drone that you just mentioned, it is actually…it’s operational right now?

Gagnon: It is called the X37B, it’s been over the past couple of years. The testing program has accelerated and they’ve had three successful launches of it now. Just recently, I believe it was just at the end 2012, was the last of the missions, the third mission actually. But prior to that they had one of them spend a whole year in space.

The role of this X37B, or the military space plane, is somewhat in dispute. Some people believe that it is for surveillance, to spy on various countries, like Russia and China. Or others believe that it is actually a first strike weapons system whose job would be to fly down from orbit, drop an attack on a particular country.

In fact the Space Command annually war games a first strike attack on China set in the year 2016. And in one of the articles, in one of the industry publications, Aviation Week and Space Technology, I read a report about the first weapon that was used in one of these computer war game attacks of China, was this military space plane. So, indeed they are war gaming with it as a first strike weapon.

Robles: Now, you mentioned Nazi scientists a minute ago. I mean, it is not a very widely known fact that after World War II, I believe it was, about 400,000 Nazis found refugee in the United States. Can you tell us a little more on the scientists that were developing these programs and working with the US government? Can you expand on that a little bit?

Gagnon: Under Operation Paper Clip, 1,200 Nazis were brought into the United States, former Nazi intelligence. They were brought in to help create the CIA.

Wernher von Braun, the Nazi scientist that ran the V1 and V2 operations, was brought in. He became one of the leaders of NASA and he built the first successful rockets that were launched by the US military after the Kennedy administration wanted to respond to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik.

Other Nazi scientists were brought in to create US Flight Medicine programs, the MKUltra LSD-drug experiments of the 1960s in the United States, where people were jumping out of windows and killing themselves because they were given drugs.

The people that were running these were the former Nazi scientists who had been doing similar tests on prisoners of war and Jews and other people in concentration camps inside of Germany.

So, the entire military industrial complex was seeded with these top Nazi operatives. And I’ve always maintained that when you do that: “Is there an ideological contamination that comes along with that?” My belief is: indeed there is.

Robles: That’s exactly the point I wanted to make myself.

Gagnon: Major-General Walter Dornberger was the Head of Hitler’s secret Space Development Program. He was brought to the United States to work for Bell Aerospace in New York State after the war.

He testified before the Congress in the 1950s. And I can quote him, he said to the Congress: “Gentlemen, I didn’t come to this country to lose the third world war, I lost two already.” And he again was one of the first to lay out this vision of control of space, giving the US full control of the planet Earth.

 

Bruce Gagnon is the coordinator for the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

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Turkey: Four NATO Missile Batteries Operational

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
January 30, 2013

Four Patriot batteries operational in Turkey

20130130_130130-german-patriot-turkey_rdax_276x193
(Bundeswehr photograph)

NATO now has command and control of two Dutch and two German Patriot batteries located in Adana and Kahramanmaras in the south of Turkey. These four Patriot anti-missile systems are now actively defending these locations from missile threats.

Allies have committed to a total of six Patriot batteries to augment Turkey’s air defences.The remaining two US Patriot batteries, which are expected to come under NATO command in the coming days, will be located in Gaziantep.

With full operational capability, the NATO Patriots will be capable of defending 3.5 million people in Turkey against missile attacks [sic].

20120725_Patriot_in_Turkey_04_rdax_270x202
(NATO photograph)

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Guy de Maupassant: The army, murdering those who defend themselves, making prisoners of the rest, pillaging in the name of the Sword

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Guy de Maupassant: Selections on war

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Guy de Maupassant
From Boule de suif (1880)
Translator unknown

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For several days in succession fragments of a defeated army had passed through the town. They were mere disorganized bands, not disciplined forces. The men wore long, dirty beards and tattered uniforms; they advanced in listless fashion, without a flag, without a leader. All seemed exhausted, worn out, incapable of thought or resolve, marching onward merely by force of habit, and dropping to the ground with fatigue the moment they halted. One saw, in particular, many enlisted men, peaceful citizens, men who lived quietly on their income, bending beneath the weight of their rifles; and little active volunteers, easily frightened but full of enthusiasm, as eager to attack as they were ready to take to flight; and amid these, a sprinkling of red-breeched soldiers, the pitiful remnant of a division cut down in a great battle; somber artillerymen, side by side with nondescript foot-soldiers; and, here and there, the gleaming helmet of a heavy-footed dragoon who had difficulty in keeping up with the quicker pace of the soldiers of the line. Legions of irregulars with high-sounding names “Avengers of Defeat,” “Citizens of the Tomb,” “Brethren in Death” passed in their turn, looking like banditti. Their leaders, former drapers or grain merchants, or tallow or soap chandlers — warriors by force of circumstances, officers by reason of their mustachios or their money — covered with weapons, flannel and gold lace, spoke in an impressive manner, discussed plans of campaign, and behaved as though they alone bore the fortunes of dying France on their braggart shoulders; though, in truth, they frequently were afraid of their own men — scoundrels often brave beyond measure, but pillagers and debauchees.

***

Orders shouted in an unknown, guttural tongue rose to the windows of the seemingly dead, deserted houses; while behind the fast-closed shutters eager eyes peered forth at the victors – masters now of the city, its fortunes, and its lives, by “right of war.” The inhabitants, in their darkened rooms, were possessed by that terror which follows in the wake of cataclysms, of deadly upheavals of the earth, against which all human skill and strength are vain. For the same thing happens whenever the established order of things is upset, when security no longer exists, when all those rights usually protected by the law of man or of Nature are at the mercy of unreasoning, savage force. The earthquake crushing a whole nation under falling roofs; the flood let loose, and engulfing in its swirling depths the corpses of drowned peasants, along with dead oxen and beams torn from shattered houses; or the army, covered with glory, murdering those who defend themselves, making prisoners of the rest, pillaging in the name of the Sword, and giving thanks to God to the thunder of cannon — all these are appalling scourges, which destroy all belief in eternal justice, all that confidence we have been taught to feel in the protection of Heaven and the reason of man.

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Syria: Israel Launches Deadly Air Raid On Military Facility

January 30, 2013 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
January 31, 2013

Syria Says Israel Strikes Military Facility

BEIRUT: An Israeli airstrike hit a military research center in Syria on Wednesday, Syrian state news agency SANA reported, citing a statement by the Syrian army’s general command.

“Israeli fighter jets violated our airspace at dawn today and carried out a direct airstrike on our scientific and research center, which works to raise our resistance and self-defense,” the statement reads.

Syrian state TV said two people were killed and five injured in an airstrike on the Jamraya military research center northwest of the capital Damascus.

The building was seriously damaged during the airstrike.

Western media reported earlier on Wednesday that the Israeli military aviation hit targets on the Syrian-Lebanese border.

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Xinhua News Agency
January 31, 2013

Israeli airstrike targeted science facility near Syrian capital: military

DAMASCUS: Israeli war jets sneaked off radars and hit a center for scientific research in a suburb of Syrian capital Damascus at dawn Wednesday, the General Command of the Syrian Military said in a statement.

The military statement, splashed in a thick red news bar on the state-TV, said the Israeli fighter jets penetrated at dawn Wednesday the Syrian airspace and directly struck one of the country’s scientific research center located in the Jumraya suburb of the capital.

The attack came after many unsuccessful attempts by the “armed terrorist groups” to capture this site over the past months, the military statement said, hinting that the Israeli air raid played in the hands of the rebels.

It said the facility was responsible for lifting up the level of resistance and self-defense, adding that the attack led to the killing of two workers and the wounding of five others.

The war jets sneaked in from the border region of al-Shaikh Mountain at a law altitude and under the radar and headed toward Jumraya, said the statement, which totally rubbished as unfounded media reports claiming that the airstrike targeted a convoy that was allegedly heading from Syria to Lebanon.

Decrying the move as “flagrant intervention” to the Syrian airspace, the military contended that Israel is the driving force and beneficiary of the terrorist acts committed in Syria with the partnership of Qatar and Turkey.

It said that the Israeli move would not dissuade Syria from keeping on supporting the resistance movements, the foremost of which is the Palestinian cause.

While condemning the move, the military statement said nothing about a possible payback for the Israeli aggression.

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Russian Experts Warn Of Unacknowledged, Ongoing Third World War

January 30, 2013 2 comments

Voice of Russia
January 30, 2013

Informational nature of modern war
Sergey Duz

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[I]f World War III is on, this is the nature of this war. Before attacking a country it is necessary to destabilize the situation there to create a civil standoff. It is better to fight with someone else’s hands because the losses among one’s own servicemen are too expensive for the reputation and the budget.

The paramount goal of a war is neither destroying an enemy’s armed forces nor seizing the territory. The goal is to become the author of a new world order of the post-war era.

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Russia’s Defense Minister, General Sergei Shoigu, presented the Defense Plan of Russia to President Vladimir Putin. According to the minister, the document takes into account all possible threats and risks the country may face in the coming decades.

“In our opinion, a fairly complete analysis of what we can expect in the coming decades has been conducted. This is why we believe that it is ready for approval. I would certainly like to add that at the same time it is not a final, inflexible document. Considering various events around the country, different threats, it can definitely be adjusted and will be adjusted, of course,” the minister said.

Political analysts are speaking about the growing number of military threats to Russia. At the recent meeting of the general assembly of the National Military Academy the conclusion was made that use of force continued to play the key role in settlement of economic and political disagreements between countries. Some of the flashpoints are located close to Russian borders.

In recent years a significant group of experts noted that possible military threats would have a local scale or regional one at maximum.

Some experts note that the border between the states at peace and war is being erased. Nations don’t declare wars anymore, while current wars deviate from the traditional war scenarios. Nevertheless, in terms of consequences, new types of conflicts are comparable to wars. A peculiar feature of modern conflicts is a wide use of non-military methods – humanitarian, economic and political sanctions. For example, those who mastermind a conflict use the protesting sentiments of the population in the country they plan to attack.

Pessimists claim that the Third World War has already been on, referring to the events of the Arab Spring. They say that this is a tough and uncompromising war, which is conducted under new rules. This war does not necessarily look like explicit violence and military actions. The main goal is to affect people’s mentality.

In fact it is a struggle between elite groups, which have power and other resources which are necessary for winning an information war. Actually, if World War III is on, this is the nature of this war. Before attacking a country it is necessary to destabilize the situation there to create a civil standoff. It is better to fight with someone else’s hands because the losses among one’s own servicemen are too expensive for the reputation and the budget.

Ruining a country and setting up a puppet government is less expensive and more efficient than destroying the country’s armed forces. This principle has always been true, but today with the development of information technologies those who are striving for global hegemony have made it the cornerstone. The paramount goal of a war is neither destroying an enemy’s armed forces nor seizing the territory. The goal is to become the author of a new world order of the post-war era.

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Militarization of the Arctic: “We have to rethink how war is fought”

January 30, 2013 1 comment

Voice of Russia
January 30, 2013

Militarization of the Arctic: ‘We have to rethink how war is fought’ – Nordberg
John Robles

Audio: Download

As the Arctic ice continues to melt and resources slowly begin to be available the West has decided to begin the militarization of the Arctic zone in a bid to gain control over the precious resources. In an interview with the Voice of Russia Agneta Norberg, Vice Chair of the Swedish Peace Council gives her views on the issue and also comments on the militarization of Sweden, Norway and the North and the NATO expansion into “neutral” areas.

Robles: I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about NATO, in the Arctic, in particular, can you tell our listeners about the radar installations and satellite communications equipment they have set up in Norway and in Scandinavia?

Norberg: Well, I’m not a technician but I can tell you that recently it was published: a book the Satellite War by Bård Wormdal – a journalist at Norwegian radio. And it was a very important book, it was published in 2011.

I invited him to Stockholm in October when we had a day about the Arctic and the situation in the Arctic and what he says is you have to change your whole idea of how war is conducted. War is conducted via satellite and via radar installations.

And for instance, to make it clear, to understand what we should understand is: that the war on Libya, the former year, was conducted via satellite from Svalbard. This is very dangerous because, this island, the Svalbard Islands are a peace area undersigned by 14 different nations but Norway has allowed the United States of America to deploy radar installations, and in connection with the satellite they are conducting war. This is a quite new understanding of how war is conducted.

Robles: NATO and the US, they claim that their missiles, that are now surrounding Russia and their radar installations all over the world, that these are somehow a defensive shield.

Norberg: You have to differ between all these: the national missile defense, they call it. The Vardo radar close to the Russian border is one installation, and there are also those in Poland and in Turkey, and they will also be deployed in Romania it is a missiles shield. It is one thing.

The other thing are all the other radars and satellites which are informing the pilots and the war planes how to bomb and where to bomb. I have a globe here in front of me and it is almost all covered by US radar installations for different purposes. So, you have this national missile shield, which they claim is for defense, and it is an offensive weapon. It can be used as defensive but it can as well be used as an offensive weapon. And one of those radars are installed just outside the Russian border in Vardo.

I’ve been rather surprised when I’ve met Russian scientists and visitors in Stockholm, last year in October, I arranged a seminar as I mentioned about the Arctic, and the Russian representative, he didn’t agree with me that this was a dangerous situation. The only one who agreed with me was Bård Wormdal, the journalist who had written the book Satellite War.

There seems to be lack of understanding about the installations surrounding the Russian border, that is my opinion. And I think it is rather dangerous.

Robles: Why did the Russian expert disagree with you?

Norberg: Because he said that the Vardo radar is not dangerous, and I disagreed with him. And also Bård Wormdal disagreed with him.

This Vardo radar, a few kilometers outside Russian border, is rather dangerous because it is in the missile defense system, so called missile defense system. So, I think he was not aware of this. We disagreed rather strong on this matter and that’s why I’m very happy that you called me so I can tell this.

Robles: There hasn’t been much news about that. Now, as far as NATO and the Arctic in the north and Scandinavia and Canada, can you give us some details about NATO’s plans and their current activities, especially in the Arctic, as it is opening up, and resources are becoming available that were not available before?

Norberg: Then I think I will drift back to Sweden because during the last years, starting with 2007, there’ve been huge war maneuvers on the Swedish and Norwegian soil, with all NATO, and specifically the American State participating in huge maneuvers in the north.

They were called for instance: Nordic Air Meet in 2007 where a lot of countries took part, and then in 2009, it was Loyal Arrow: history’s largest air maneuver in the northern part of Sweden and Norway, and also Finland was the area. And then it continued with the Cold Response №1, a winter maneuver in the northern part of Sweden and northern Norway. And it continued in March 2012 with the Cold Response №2 with 16,500 soldiers from 15 different countries. And then after this you had last autumn a huge maneuver in the north called Nordic Air Meet №2.

So, there are ongoing military war games and some Russian military has protested, specifically against Cold Response №2.

Nobody in Sweden would have known about this unless 5 Norwegian personnel crashed into Kebnekaise, a mountain in the northern Sweden, we would never have known about these 16,500 troop military maneuver.

So, it is ongoing, not on daily basis, but certainly every year it is about two huge maneuvers in the north, and even in the south, in the Baltic. And this should be highlighted I think.

Robles: Now… Sweden as I understand is a neutral country, one point: how does Sweden officially explain that they allowed these installations? And do you think all these maneuvers are designed to intimidate Russia or to try to exercise sovereignty on the Arctic? And in that regard, what moves have they made to try to establish their own sovereignty over Arctic areas that were in dispute?

Norberg: Well, when we drift to Arctic I think there are two things going on here. When they are interviewed, those who are in charge of these maneuvers, they always answer that this is for the Arctic. They openly express this. These maneuvers are for the Arctic and the resources which will be available when the ice is melting.

Agneta Norberg is Vice Chair of the Swedish Peace Council, Member of Steering Committee in International Peace Bureau (IPB) and on the board of directors Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

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NATO Intensifies Missile Buildup On Syrian Border

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
January 29, 2013

Two Patriot complexes put on combat duty in Turkey

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Patriot missile launch (NATO photograph)

Two NATO’s surface-to-air missile complexes Patriot have been put on combat duty not far from the Syrian border, Reuters reported Tuesday citing German sources.

These two complexes which were delivered from Germany have been deployed near the Turkish city of Kahramanmarash.

In total NATO has sent six Patriot complexes to Turkey – two from the US, two from Germany and two from the Netherlands.

The missile complexes supplied from the Netherlands were out into combat duty on January 26.

The two complexes from the US will be delivered on Wednesday.

In November 2012, Ankara asked NATO to provide anti-aircraft complexes to protect its air space from possible air attacks from the side of Syria.

Voice of Russia, RIA

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Anatole France: Modern Romans, the Americanization of the world

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Anatole France: Selections on war

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Anatole France
From On the White Stone (1905)
Translated by Charles E. Roche

EL2003_68

“Supposing even that Europe should become pacific, can you not see that America would become warlike? Following upon Cuba, reduced to the state of a vassal republic, Hawaii, Porto Rico, and the annexation of the Philippines, it is impossible to say that the American Union is not a conquering nation. A publicist of Yankee proclivities, Stead, has said amid the plaudits of the whole of the United States: ‘The Americanization of the world is on the march.’ And then there is Mr. Roosevelt, whose dream is to plant the Stars and Stripes in South Africa, Australia, and the West Indies. Mr. Roosevelt is Imperialist and he sighs for an America mistress of the world. Between ourselves, he is planning the Empire of Augustus. He has unfortunately perused Livy. The conquests of the Romans banish sleep from him. Have you read his speeches? They breathe a bellicose spirit. ‘Fight, my friends,’ says Mr. Roosevelt,’ and fight hard. There is nothing like blows. We are upon earth only to exterminate one another. Those who tell you the contrary are men without morality. Mistrust men who think. Thought enervates. ‘Tis a French failing. The Romans conquered the world. They lost it. We are the modern Romans.’ Words full of eloquence, backed up with a navy which will soon be the second in the world, and with a military Budget of 40,500,000 francs!

“The Yankees declare that in four years’ time they will fight Germany. If we are to believe this, they should first tell us where they expect to come into contact with the enemy. That a Russia, the serf of her Czar, that a still feudal Germany, should entertain armies for fighting purposes, this one is tempted to lay to the door of ancient habits and the survival of a strenuous past. But that a young democracy, the United States of America, an aggregation of business men, a mass of emigrants from all countries, lacking community, traditions, and memories, madly cast into the scramble for the mighty dollar, should of a sudden be swept with the desire of firing torpedoes at the flanks of battleships, and of exploding mines under the enemy’s columns, affords a proof that the inordinate struggle for the production and exploitation of riches keeps alive the employment of and taste for brutal force, that industrial violence engenders military violence, and that mercantile rivalries kindle between nations hatreds that bloodshed can alone extinguish. The colonial mania of which you were speaking a while ago is but one of the thousand forms of the much-vaunted competition of our economists. The capitalistic state is just as much a warlike one as the feudal. The era has dawned of great wars for the industrial sovereignty. Under the present regime of national production it is the cannon which fixes tariffs, establishes customs, opens and closes markets. There exists no other regulator of commerce and industry. Extermination is the fatal result of the economic conditions in which the civilised world finds itself to-day…”

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Britain To Deploy Troops To Mali

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

RT
January 29, 2013

Britain to send forces to Mali as part of EU mission

Downing Street has said that the British government will dispatch 350 troops to Mali to aid French troops stationed in the country’s north, as part of a UK mission to train local forces and engage in “force protection.”

British representatives are attending a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the provision of troops as part of an EU mission to the African country. The EU estimates that 500 supplementary troops will be sent to Mali, some 350 of which will be British. This will include approximately 40 military advisers who will train soldiers in Mali and 200 British soldiers to be sent to neighboring African countries.

An ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) force of West African troops – about 7,500 of them – are also coming into Mali to take over some garrison duties, and steadily take over the fighting role from the French.

The budget for the campaign, which has been set at around $950m will be financed through an international donors’ conference based in Ethiopia.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told French President François Hollande on Sunday evening that the UK was keen to provide military assistance in Mali and West Africa, including the training of local forces.

…Downing Street did state that the country has both the “capability and capacity” for a larger deployment. The country has already supplied two C-17 military transport aircraft and a Sentinel surveillance plane.

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Michel Corday: The hideous futility of war in itself

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Michel Corday: Selections from The Paris Front

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Michel Corday
From The Paris Front (1934)
Translator unknown

1917

- People are still talking of premature peace after three years of an unparalleled war! Remember that the Germans, according to their official report, lost 28,600 in 1870. This time, they officially admit, up to now, a loss of 1,300,000. Fifty times as many. A war fifty times more brutal than that of 1870…And yet peace would be premature! Our descendants will laugh long and loud.

- In Science and Life for August 1, 1914, General Percin calculated that in a modern war it would cost a hundred thousand francs to kill one soldier. Three years of war confirm this opinion. The Allies have spent three hundred thousand million francs to kill three million enemies…

- The figures reported in the last secret communiqué on the offensive of the 16th and 17th April are: 25,000 dead, 55,000 missing (?), 70,000 wounded. Thus in a single morning we lost as many as the Germans lost in the whole campaign of 1870!

- I have been reading an analysis of pacifism, which states that the unpopularity of pacifism springs from the opinion that it arises merely from “a fear of being hurt.” Such writers forget that the “hurt” they are discussing is being suffered by others. It is, in other words, the wounds of others which these people do not fear.

- In the fierce greed of the business man to make his fortune through the war – that mean greed ranging all the way from the great manufacturer down to the petty profiteer, a greed which has been far too tenderly spared amid the general resignation – nothing is more repulsive than the exploitation of the fighting man.

- This struggle over Verdun is a perfect proof of the hideous futility of war in itself. For, after eighteen months of fighting, the two opposing armies are back exactly where they began. It is just as if they had never fought at all – except that now there are two hundred thousand corpses on that small plot of earth.

- Last winter, at Verdun, a regiment of Zouaves had to halt in shell-craters before an attack, on a night of bitter cold. The colonel telephoned to the general that his men would soon be frozen and be unable to march. The general, snugly ensconced in his quarters, insisted on their remaining where they were. There were 1,200 cases of frozen feet and 600 amputations.

Countless similar incidents will come to light after the war. If they do not make the world disgusted with militarism, we shall finally have to despair of human nature.

- If it were allowed to express one’s views, I should write an article entitled “The Vintage,” portraying the younger generation flung into the winepress, crushed, with the incessant gurgle of streaming blood – pale, frightened mothers looking on – while the levers of this winepress would be forced down by the unwearied arms of the ambitious politicians, the Chauvinists, the profiteers, while the idiot mob cheered them on…

- The war has really profoundly affected Anatole France. As he muses under the moon, or sits dreaming in the sunshine, his thoughts constantly revert to the horror of the trenches. Never have I seen a man without relatives at the front so sensitive to the horror of this long-drawn and calamitous folly.

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Pentagon’s Global Expansion Plans for 2013: Interview

January 28, 2013 1 comment

Voice of Russia
January 28, 2013

 

The US did not set up US/AFRICA Command as a social service agency – Rozoff
John Robles

 

Audio: Download

 

Regular Voice of Russia contributor Rick Rozoff discusses Syrian defenses and how they are preventing a Western invasion, Russian-Syrian cooperation, the pretext of the war on terror to invade countries which he says was part of phase 2 of the US/NATO global expansion, other pretexts used to justify military expansion, the ties between al-Qaeda and the US and the massive expansion by US/NATO into the African continent which will, in effect, bring all of Africa under US/NATO control.

There’ve been reports that Russian anti-aircraft and defensive systems are the only thing stopping a US invasion of Syria. How much credence would you give to those reports?

I think that’s a very plausible contention. And that in fact over the decades, during the Soviet period and in the post-Soviet period, that Russia has maintained military-to-military ties with the government in Syria and has, as is the Russian policy, provided strictly defensive weapons to an ally, to a client state, to Syria.

And that I’m sure anyone in the know about this thing wouldn’t be talking about it. But I think it is a safe assumption that Syria has an integrated air defense system that is substantially more advanced and effective than anything that countries that have been in recent years the victims of US-NATO military onslaughts have had. For example Libya and certainly Afghanistan, Iraq after over a decade of sanctions, and perhaps even Yugoslavia. So, one of the factors, as you mention, that may have already prevented more reckless, provocative military action by Western powers against Syria is the fact that Syria has the ability to protect itself.

As you are aware of, and this has been mentioned by the Russian officials, is the deployment of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors in southeastern Turkey may in fact, in part, be to effectively enforce a no-fly zone over the border land,the area on the other side of the Syrian border, to prevent aircraft as well as cruise missiles or other theater missiles, from being used in that area and as such may be preparatory to plans to cripple or neutralize the Syrian air defense system on a more ambitious scale. That’s certainly a possibility.

While reflecting on developments in Syria, and even more so developments by outside players meddling in internal affairs in Syria, and I’m talking of course about the United States and its NATO allies and their allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council, that is the monarchies and sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf, we have to recall that Russia does have its only military facility in the entire Mediterranean in Tartus, in Syria, and that, effecting as the West and its Persian Gulf allies intend to regime change in Damascus would inevitably lead to the eviction of Russian naval forces, or their ability to use the facility in Tartus.

We also have to recall that Syria is the only Arab country currently that has particularly close state-to-state relations with Russia, as it does with Iran, same category, and that with the displacement or the replacement of the government in Damascus we will see the entire Mediterranean Sea Basin turned into a Pentagon-NATO stronghold, with no – Libya being knocked out last year and Lebanon presumably going the way of Syria – so that Russian strategic interests in the Mediterranean would be seriously hurt with the overthrow of the government in Syria and its replacement by a US puppet regime.

Can you give a prediction, more or less, or see where things are going in Africa?

Yes, along with the so-called pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, which is meant to create an alliance based on the model of NATO by the US and several of its NATO allies, like Britain and France, who are past colonial powers in the East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, to encircle and contain China much as NATO expansion in Europe is aimed to do vis-à-vis Russia, we are also seeing the increased military focus on Africa by the United States, on the entire continent, following in the wake of the creation of the US Africa Command. The latest, and in terms of the number of countries included, the largest, overseas US regional military command in history.

And because nations like China, Russia, India and others are reaching out to Africa for trade, economic and natural resource purposes, we are seeing the US increasingly intensifying its military presence and activity on the continent. A recent article many of your listeners may be aware of documents the United States is to deploy, initially at least, limited contingents of military forces to 35 nations in Africa. Depending on how one counts them there are 54 members of the African Union, so that’s a pretty sizeable percentage of the total number of countries in Africa. And that’s in addition of course to the US-NATO war against Libya in North Africa last year.

So, what exactly are they going to be doing in these 35 countries?

Most of what we’re talking about will be covert activities. The official explanation is “fighting al-Qaeda forces in Africa”. I cannot believe there are 35 nations in Africa that are threatened by al-Qaeda in Africa or anything like it.

That’s been the whole pretext of this global expansion and this global war on terror. When is this going to stop? How is this going to stop? I mean: how can they just keep doing this over and over? Invade country after country after country on the same fantasy pretext? I mean, no one is ever going to be able to stop this until we all become slaves or what?

You are raising a very interesting question, particularly as it seems to be a real drum beat for military intervention in Mali, in northwest Africa, and again, ostensibly to combat al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

I mean they created al-Qaeda, for Christ’s sake!

Yes, that’s the irony that I think needs to be emphasized, is the fact that while the US and its NATO allies are actively supporting al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-linked foreign fighters and terrorists against governments in Libya and Syria and who knows where else tomorrow, they are using the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda to introduce military forces into Africa, throughout the continent of Africa indeed. So, I think we can take that at face value that this is a charade, this is a pretense.

We should also of course, since we talked about earlier the fact that the US has pivoted to the Asia-Pacific region after having subjugated the Greater Middle East, that somebody is playing off an old script, if you will, when they come up with these sorts of bogus excuses, because that really belongs to phase 2, if you will, of post-Cold War global US military expansion, so they need a new scriptwriter in the State Department and the Pentagon.

Regarding?

The reason why they are increasing military forces in Africa. We know for example that last year the Obama administration announced the deployment of special operations, special forces troops to four countries in Central Africa to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army. And they were going to Uganda, the Central African Republic, Congo, South Sudan. So, in that case it is clearly not al-Qaeda. The US military forces have been involved in counter-insurgency operations in Mali for several years and not against al-Qaeda but against ethnic Tuaregs.

So, they’ll use whatever excuse I guess is at hand, you know, fighting pirates in the Horn of Africa, or pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, or the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa, but at the end of the day the US did not setup the US-Africa Command as a social service agency. They set it up as the scaffolding for increased US military activities in Africa. And what we’ve seen with the confirmation of the fact that the Pentagon is going to deploy new military forces to 35 nations, is that the US is intent on establishing a permanent military presence throughout the length and breadth of Africa.

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Iranian, Russian Borders: NATO Expands Ties With Azerbaijan

January 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Trend News Agency
January 28, 2013

Ambassador: Last year important for expanding NATO-Azerbaijani relations
H. Valiyev

Baku: Last year was one of the most important in the expansion of relations between NATO and Azerbaijan, Ambassador of Romania to Azerbaijan Daniel Cristian Ciobanu said at the forum of Integration of Azerbaijan Youth to Europe Organisation (AGAT).

Ciobanu reminded the audience that the visit of a NATO Secretary General to Azerbaijan took place last year and [of the] participation of Azerbaijani senior officials at the NATO summit…in Chicago in May.

All these facts indicate the presence of a high level of cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan, the ambassador said.

Ciobanu noted that special attention should be given to the prevention of threats that might face the countries of Europe, South Caucasus and Caspian region, such as terrorism and security of energy production and transportation.

“There are many issues that need to be addressed in the collaborative approach. NATO attaches great value to Azerbaijan’s contribution in this field. As is known, Azerbaijan is involved in operations in Afghanistan, not only through its military forces, but also providing its space for the coalition’s cargo transits which is highly appreciated by NATO,” Ciobanu said.

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Azeri Press Agency
January 28, 2013

Head of NATO Energy Security Section to visit Azerbaijan
Victoria Dementeva

Baku: Michael Rühle, head of the Energy Security Section in NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division, will visit Azerbaijan.

The NATO International School of Azerbaijan (NISA) told APA that Michael Rühle will attend the NISA winter session in Baku on February 4-9 during his visit.

The main topic of the session will be threats against security in the Caspian region.

Michael Rühle is expected to meet several officials during the visit. He will also visit Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy.

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Baltics: French Warplanes To Take Over NATO Air Patrol

January 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
January 28, 2013

French Air Force to Take Over Policing Baltic Air in May

RIGA: The French Air Force will take over from Denmark the mission of policing Baltic airspace in May, the Latvian Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Danish F-16 fighters will be replaced by French Mirage 2000C fighters.
France has previously participated in three missions: in 2007, 2010 and 2011.

Since March 2004, when the Baltic States joined NATO, the round-the-clock mission to police the airspace of the Baltic States has been conducted on a three to four-month rotation basis from Lithuania’s First Air Base in Zokniai, near the northern city of Šiauliai.

A usual deployment consists of four fighter aircraft and between 50 and 100 support personnel.

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Estonian Public Broadcasting
January 18, 2013

Hungary to Take Part in Baltic Air Policing

Visiting Estonia on Friday, the Hungarian defense minister, Csaba Hende, announced that his country’s fighter jets will begin participating in NATO’s Baltic air policing mission in the second half of 2015.

In a statement, Estonian Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu said: “The flying of our allies’ fighters in our skies is the most direct sign of NATO presence.“

Hende also met with Estonian Commander in Chief Riho Terras, discussing Hungary’s potential involvement in NATO’s Tallinn-based cyber-defense center.

While in Tallinn, the minister visited the cyber-defense center, as well as the War of Independence Victory Column and the Seaplane Harbor museum.

He will depart from Estonia this evening.

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U.S. AFRICOM Intensifies Role In Mali War

January 27, 2013 1 comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
January 27, 2013

US Steps up Mali Involvement

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French troops board U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft en route to Mali

MOSCOW: The United States will intensify its involvement in the military operation in Mali, where the French-led offensive…entered its third week, the Department of Defense said in a statement on Saturday.

The Pentagon said that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta held a phone conversation with French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian to inform him that “US Africa Command will support the French military by conducting aerial refueling missions as operations in Mali continue.”

“Secretary Panetta and Minister Le Drian resolved to remain in close contact as aggressive operations against terrorist networks in Mali are ongoing,” the statement reads.

US policy prohibits direct military aid to the incumbent Mali government because it has come to power as a result of a coup, not through an election, CNN said.

Mali, a French colony until 1960, has been in turmoil since last March’s military coup, which triggered an uprising of…Tuareg tribes that seized control of the country’s south.

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Voice of Russia
January 26, 2013

US agrees to refuel French warplanes on Mali mission

The Pentagon has agreed to refuel French warplanes that are currently conducting operations…in Mali, the US military said in a statement on Saturday.

President Barack Obama’s administration had previously been asked by France for refueling assistance and outgoing US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has now approved the request, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

Obama held telephone talks with French President Francois Hollande on Friday in which the two leaders discussed global security concerns and vowed to work together to tackle extremism across North Africa.

Following on from Obama and Hollande’s discussion, Panetta spoke to French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss US military support “to deny terrorists a safe haven in Mali”.

Voice of Russia, AFP

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Georg Brandes: Two million men held in readiness to exterminate each other

January 27, 2013 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Georg Brandes: Selections on war

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Georg Brandes
From Recollections Of My Childhood And Youth (1906)

erez

1870

I was very deeply impressed…by the suicide of Prévost-Paradol. I had studied most carefully his book, La France Nouvelle; I had seen in this friend and comrade of Taine and of Renan the political leader of the future in France. No one was so well acquainted with its resources as he; no one knew better than he what policy ought to be followed. If he had despaired, it was because he foresaw that the situation was hopeless. He had certainly made mistakes; first, in believing that in January it had been Napoleon’s serious intention to abrogate personal control of the state, then that of retaining, despite the long hesitation so well known to me, his position as French Envoy to North America, after the plebiscite. That he should now have turned his pistol against his own forehead told me that he regarded the battle as lost, foresaw inevitable collapse as the outcome of the war. When at first all the rumours and all the papers announced the extreme probability of Denmark’s taking part in the war as France’s ally, I was seized with a kind of despair at the thought of the folly she seemed to be on the verge of committing. I wrote to my friends, would have liked, had I been permitted, to write in every Danish paper a warning against the martial madness that had seized upon people. It was only apparently shared by the French. Even now, only a week after the declaration of war, and before a single collision had taken place, it was clear to everyone who carefully followed the course of events that in spite of the light-hearted bragging of the Parisians and the Press, there was deep-rooted aversion to war. And I, who had always counted Voltaire’s Micromégas as one of my favourite tales, thought of where Sirius, the giant, voices his supposition that the people on the earth are happy beings who pass their time in love and thought, and of the philosopher’s reply to him: “At this moment there are a hundred thousand animals of our species, who wear hats, engaged in killing a hundred thousand more, who wear turbans, or in being killed by them. And so it has been all over the earth from time immemorial.” Only that this time not a hundred thousand, but some two million men were being held in readiness to exterminate each other.

The Paris I saw again was changed. Even on my way from Calais I heard, to my astonishment, the hitherto strictly forbidden Marseillaise hummed and muttered. In Paris, people went arm in arm about the streets singing, and the Marseillaise was heard everywhere. The voices were generally harsh, and it was painful to hear the song that had become sacred through having been silenced so long, profaned in this wise, in the bawling and shouting of half-drunken men at night. But the following days, as well, it was hummed, hooted, whistled and sung everywhere, and as the French are one of the most unmusical nations on earth, it sounded for the most part anything but agreeable.

In those days, while no collision between the masses of troops had as yet taken place, there was a certain cheerfulness over Paris; it could be detected in every conversation; people were more lively, raised their voices more, chatted more than at other times; the cabmen growled more loudly, and cracked their whips more incessantly than usual.

Assurance of coming victory was expressed everywhere, even among the hotel servants in the Rue Racine and on the lips of the waiters at every restaurant. Everybody related how many had already volunteered; the number grew from day to day; first it was ten thousand, then seventy-five thousand, then a hundred thousand. In the Quartier Latin, the students sat in their cafés, many of them in uniform, surrounded by their comrades, who were bidding them good-bye. It was characteristic that they no longer had their womenfolk with them; they had flung them aside, now that the matter was serious. Every afternoon a long stream of carriages, filled with departing young soldiers, could be seen moving out towards the Gare du Nord. From every carriage large flags waved. Women, their old mothers, workwomen, who sat in the carriages with them, held enormous bouquets on long poles. The dense mass of people through which one drove were grave; but the soldiers for the most part retained their gaiety, made grimaces, smoked and drank.

One could hardly praise the attitude of the French papers between the declaration of war and the first battles. Their boasting and exultation over what they were going to do was barely decent, they could talk of nothing but the victories they were registering beforehand, and, first and last, the entry into Berlin. The insignificant encounter at Saarbrücken was termed everywhere the première victoire! The caricatures in the shop-windows likewise betrayed terrible arrogance. One was painfully reminded of the behaviour of the French before the battle of Agincourt in Shakespeare’s Henry V.

It was no matter for surprise that a populace thus excited should parade through the streets in an evening, shouting “A Berlin! A Berlin!”

People seized upon every opportunity of obtruding their patriotism. One evening Le lion amoureux was given. In the long speech which concludes the second act, a young Republican describes the army which, during the Revolution, crossed the frontier for the first time and utterly destroyed the Prussian armies. The whole theatre foamed like the sea.

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Turkey: First Of Six NATO Missile Batteries Operational

January 26, 2013 Leave a comment

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
January 26, 2013

FIRST NATO PATRIOT BATTERY OPERATIONAL

image_thumbnail
Patriot missile launch station at the Adana International Airport on January 25. (NATO photograph)

MONS, Belgium: The first of six Patriot missile batteries deploying to Turkey was declared operational and placed under the command and control of NATO on Saturday, 26 January.

The battery, provided by the Netherlands…

“NATO Allies asked us to augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities in December, and we are delivering operational forces in January,” said Admiral James Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. Thanks to the hard work of the nations providing Patriot systems, the expertise of communications specialists from six NATO nations, and the diligent planning of multinational military staff at Air Command Ramstein in Germany and at SHAPE Headquarters in Belgium, we have established this defensive capability promptly, Admiral Stavridis added.

Allies have committed to a total of six Patriot batteries…The other five batteries are expected to be in place and operational in the coming days.

In response to Turkey’s request, NATO Foreign Ministers decided on 4 December 2012 that NATO would “augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities…”

“This is a clear demonstration of the agility and flexibility of NATO forces and of our willingness to defend Allies who face threats in an unstable world,” said Admiral Stavridis.

Patriot systems will be deployed to…the Turkish cities of Kahramanmaras, Adana, and Gaziantep…

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Obama, Hollande Pledge Expansion Of North Africa-Middle East War

January 26, 2013 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
January 26, 2013

U.S., French leaders pledge expanded counter-terrorism in North Africa

[Repeated, near ritualistic, expressions like “terroristically terroristic terrorists” and suchlike have been excised.]

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The Obama administration sent some 100 military trainers last week to Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo and Ghana – the nations that are poised to send their troops to Mali.

The U.S. military has begun airlifting French troops and equipment into Mali…

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WASHINGTON: U.S. President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande pledged on Friday to expand efforts in fighting…in North Africa.

In their phone conversation, the two leaders discussed shared security concerns including Mali, Algeria, Libya and Syria, the White House said.

“President Obama and President Hollande condemned last week’s…act in Algeria and affirmed their mutual commitment…more broadly in North Africa,” the White House said in a statement.

Algerian troops launched a three-day rescue operation starting the next day. According to Algerian officials, a total of 37 hostages, including a French citizen, were killed during the operation and seven others are still missing.

On Mali, Obama expressed his support for France’s involvement in combating…

“The two leaders emphasized the need to rapidly establish the African-led International Support Mission in Mali,” the White House said.

The Obama administration sent some 100 military trainers last week to Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo and Ghana – the nations that are poised to send their troops to Mali.

The U.S. military has begun airlifting French troops and equipment into Mali, as Washington is pushing as well for the restoration of a civilian government in the African nation following a coup in March last year. [The coup was led by a U.S.-trained officer]

On Libya, Obama and Hollande noted the importance of “sustained assistance” to the country as it is working to build effective security sector institutions.

They voiced “strong concern” about the humanitarian crisis affecting not just Syria but also neighboring countries, pledging anew to help achieve a political transition in the Arab country in the absence of President Bashar al-Assad, the White House said.

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Russian Military Chief Warns of New Types of War

January 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Voice of Russia
January 26, 2013

Russia should come up with integral theory of fighting in new-type armed conflicts – Chief of General Staff

Russian military scientists should come up with an integral theory of fighting in new-type armed conflicts, said the Chief of the Russian General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, when addressing an annual General meeting of the Academy of military sciences.

According to him, a trend has emerged recently towards the blurring of distinction between the state of war and the state of peace.

Wars are no longer declared, while those that have broken out are following an unusual scenario.

The Chief of the General Staff cited colour revolutions as showing that even a relatively secure state may fall victim to a foreign invasion and plunge into chaos.

Voice of Russia, TASS

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NATO Solidarity: U.S. Planes Move French Troops To Mali

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
January 25, 2013

U.S. planes deliver French troops to Mali
By Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon
USAFE – AFAFRICA Public Affairs

U.S. operations continue in support of French

ISTRES, France: The U.S. Air Force delivered on its promise to Paris by delivering French troops via airlift to Bamako, Mali, Jan. 21.

The first C-17 Globemaster III from Dover Air Force Base, Del., took off from here and landed in Bamako Monday afternoon and delivered more than 80,000 pounds of equipment and dozens of French soldiers.

France deployed its armed forces to the African country on Jan. 11, and requested assistance from other countries to transport armored regiments and troops…

In response to requested logistical support from the French, the U.S. deployed Airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and multiple C-17 aircrews to the southern town of Istres, France, where there is a French air base.

The 621st has a unique capability, in that they are able to deploy, open an airfield, and establish, sustain and manage air mobility operations from that area. In this case, the planners are here to coordinate air support for the French military movements and load the U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Maj. David Gaulin, a contingency response element commander from the 621st, was one of the first on the ground to assess the airfield and determine requirements for operating out of Istres.

“We were able to show up here, set up communications with the United States and provided an initial assessment of what capabilities the French had and what capabilities we could bring to the operation within an hour of landing,” said Gaulin.

Since beginning the air transportation missions from France to Bamako, the French and American military work closely together to prepare and load equipment on the C-17s.

The cargo and equipment is prepared by the French and then the load plans are given to the U.S. aircraft commander for review, said French air force Maj. Eric Chabaud, who is the chief of aircraft services in Istres.

The Airmen here will continue to support the French in the upcoming days, and continue to rely on the partnership that exists between France and the U.S.

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Guy de Maupassant: I only pray that our sons may never see any wars again

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Guy de Maupassant: Selections on war

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Guy de Maupassant
The Mad Woman (La Folle) (1882)
Translator not identified

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“I can tell you a terrible story about the Franco-Prussian war,” Monsieur d’Endolin said to some friends assembled in the smoking-room of Baron de Ravot’s chateau. “You know my house in the Faubourg de Cormeil, I was living there when the Prussians came, and I had for a neighbor a kind of mad woman, who had lost her senses in consequence of a series of misfortunes. At the age of seven and twenty she had lost her father, her husband, and her newly born child, all in the space of a month.

“When death has once entered into a house, it almost invariably returns immediately, as if it knew the way, and the young woman, overwhelmed with grief, took to her bed and was delirious for six weeks. Then a species of calm lassitude succeeded that violent crisis, and she remained motionless, eating next to nothing, and only moving her eyes. Every time they tried to make her get up, she screamed as if they were about to kill her, and so they ended by leaving her continually in bed, and only taking her out to wash her, to change her linen, and to turn her mattress.

“An old servant remained with her, to give her something to drink, or a little cold meat, from time to time. What passed in that despairing mind? No one ever knew, for she did not speak at all now. Was she thinking of the dead? Was she dreaming sadly, without any precise recollection of anything that had happened? Or was her memory as stagnant as water without any current? But however this may have been, for fifteen years she remained thus inert and secluded.

“The war broke out, and in the beginning of December the Germans came to Cormeil. I can remember it as if it were but yesterday. It was freezing hard enough to split the stones, and I myself was lying back in an armchair, being unable to move on account of the gout, when I heard their heavy and regular tread, and could see them pass from my window.

“They defiled past interminably, with that peculiar motion of a puppet on wires, which belongs to them. Then the officers billeted their men on the inhabitants, and I had seventeen of them. My neighbor, the crazy woman, had a dozen, one of whom was the Commandant, a regular violent, surly swashbuckler.

“During the first few days, everything went on as usual. The officers next door had been told that the lady was ill, and they did not trouble themselves about that in the least, but soon that woman whom they never saw irritated them. They asked what her illness was, and were told that she had been in bed for fifteen years, in consequence of terrible grief. No doubt they did not believe it, and thought that the poor mad creature would not leave her bed out of pride, so that she might not come near the Prussians, or speak to them or even see them.

“The Commandant insisted upon her receiving him. He was shown into the room and said to her roughly: ‘I must beg you to get up, Madame, and to come downstairs so that we may all see you.’ But she merely turned her vague eyes on him, without replying, and so he continued: ‘I do not intend to tolerate any insolence, and if you do not get up of your own accord, I can easily find means to make you walk without any assistance.’

“But she did not give any signs of having heard him, and remained quite motionless. Then he got furious, taking that calm silence for a mark of supreme contempt; so he added: ‘If you do not come downstairs to-morrow -‘ And then he left the room.

“The next day the terrified old servant wished to dress her, but the mad woman began to scream violently, and resisted with all her might. The officer ran upstairs quickly, and the servant threw herself at his feet and cried: ‘She will not come down, Monsieur, she will not. Forgive her, for she is so unhappy.’

“The soldier was embarrassed, as in spite of his anger, he did not venture to order his soldiers to drag her out. But suddenly he began to laugh, and gave some orders in German, and soon a party of soldiers was seen coming out supporting a mattress as if they were carrying a wounded man. On that bed, which had not been unmade, the mad woman, who was still silent, was lying quite quietly, for she was quite indifferent to anything that went on, as long as they let her lie. Behind her, a soldier was carrying a parcel of feminine attire, and the officer said, rubbing his hands: ‘We will just see whether you cannot dress yourself alone, and take a little walk.’

“And then the procession went off in the direction of the forest of Imauville; in two hours the soldiers came back alone, and nothing more was seen of the mad woman. What had they done with her? Where had they taken her to? No one knew.

“The snow was falling day and night, and enveloped the plain and the woods in a shroud of frozen foam, and the wolves came and howled at our very doors.

“The thought of that poor lost woman haunted me, and I made several applications to the Prussian authorities in order to obtain some information, and was nearly shot for doing so. When spring returned, the army of occupation withdrew, but my neighbor’s house remained closed, and the grass grew thick in the garden walks. The old servant had died during the winter, and nobody troubled any longer about the occurrence; I alone thought about it constantly. What had they done with the woman? Had she escaped through the forest? Had somebody found her, and taken her to a hospital, without being able to obtain any information from her? Nothing happened to relieve my doubts; but by degrees, time assuaged my fears.

“Well, in the following autumn the woodcock were very plentiful, and as my gout had left me for a time, I dragged myself as far as the forest. I had already killed four or five of the long-billed birds, when I knocked over one which fell into a ditch full of branches, and I was obliged to get into it, in order to pick it up, and I found that it had fallen close to a dead, human body. Immediately the recollection of the mad woman struck me like a blow in the chest. Many other people had perhaps died in the wood during that disastrous year, but though I do not know why, I was sure, sure, I tell you, that I should see the head of that wretched maniac.

“And suddenly I understood, I guessed everything. They had abandoned her on that mattress in the cold, deserted wood; and, faithful to her fixed idea, she had allowed herself to perish under that thick and light counterpane of snow, without moving either arms or legs.

“Then the wolves had devoured her, and the birds had built their nests with the wool from her torn bed, and I took charge of her bones. I only pray that our sons may never see any wars again.”

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Afghan War: Georgian Troops Continue To Bleed For NATO

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
January 24, 2013

Georgian Military Servicemen Wounded in Afghanistan

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Three Georgian miilitary servicemen have been wounded in Afghanistan. Corporal Erekle Kharshiladze and Junior Sergeant Iago Kakulia were patrolling when insurgents opened fire. As a result both of them received minor injuries. Their health conditions are stable. They are undergoing medical treatment in the US Military Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

Private Guram Chimakhidze exploded an antipersonnel mine while patrolling. He was seriously injured. The wounded soldier was immediately hospitalized at the Bastion Hospital. His health condition is also stable. Private Guram Chimakhidze will be transferred to the Landstuhl Military Hospital in the nearest future for further treatment.

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Civil Georgia
January 25, 2013

Three Georgian Soldiers Wounded in Afghanistan

Tbilisi: Two Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan sustained “minor” injuries when they came under insurgents’ fire during patrolling, the Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said late on January 24.

Corporal Erekle Kharshiladze and junior sergeant Iago Kakulia are currently undergoing treatment in the U.S. Army-operated Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, according to the MoD.

In a separate incident, Private Guram Chimakhidze was “seriously” wounded during patrolling when an anti-personnel mine exploded, according to the MoD.

It said that Private Chimakhidze was currently at the Bastion hospital in Helmand province and would be transferred to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

The announcement signals a change in the MoD’s policy, which previously was not reporting about those incidents in Afghanistan in which Georgian solders were sustaining injuries. Recently the MoD has also made the public total number of Georgian soldiers, 93, wounded in Afghanistan in 2010-2012.

Georgia has lost a total of nineteen soldiers in Afghanistan, eight of them in 2012.

Georgia joined the ISAF mission in November 2009 with deployment of about 170 soldiers in Kabul. In April, 2010 Georgia increased its contribution by sending a battalion to Helmand province and in October, 2012 Georgia almost doubled its presence in Afghanistan to over 1,560 soldiers after sending one more battalion to Helmand province.

Georgia, in cooperation with the U.S., plans a rehabilitation center where wounded soldiers will be cared for. Members of the U.S. European Command visited the proposed center on January 23.

“The U.S. government is working closely with the MoD to build amputee care capacity and will continue to show its commitment for caring for wounded warriors,” the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said on January 23. “Georgia’s substantial contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan is invaluable. We recognize Georgia’s loss of soldiers in the line of duty in Afghanistan as a great sacrifice and we mourn these, as we also honor those Georgian soldiers who were wounded in action.”

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Turkey: NATO Missile Launchers To Be Operational This Weekend

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Stars and Stripes
January 23, 2012

NATO: Patriots to reach initial operating status in Turkey this weekend
By John Vandiver

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Patriot missile launchers (NATO)

STUTTGART, Germany: NATO expects its Patriot anti-missile batteries deployed to Turkey to reach initial operating capability this weekend…NATO said Wednesday.

And by month’s end, NATO expects the batteries from the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands to be fully operational…Brig. Gen. Garry Deakin, director of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe’s strategic operations center. The mission in Turkey is expected to last for at least a year, he said.

“We’re planning to sustain this mission as required to augment Turkey’s air defenses,” Deakin said during a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

On Dec. 4, NATO defense ministers authorized deployment of Patriots in response to a request from Turkey…Since then, the alliance has been getting its forces into position in Turkey.

In all, NATO allies are sending six batteries and about 1,200 troops for the mission, dubbed Active Fence.

The bulk of the U.S. force is coming from the Army’s 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery, which will operate from Gaziantep, a city less than 80 miles from Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.

“The deployments of the Patriots will…send a strong signal of allied solidarity,” said Oana Lungescu, NATO spokeswoman.

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The deployment of the Patriot batteries is part of NATO’s standing defense plan.

“This is not anything spectacularly new for us,” said Deakin, who noted the alliance provided similar support to Turkey in 1991 and 2003 when Dutch forces deployed troops and Patriots to the country.

“Currently, it’s all going according to plan,” Deakin said.

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Anatole France: War is committing all crimes by which an individual dishonours himself: arson, robbery, rape, murder

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

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Anatole France: Selections on war

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Anatole France
From The Elm-Tree on the Mall (1897)
Translated by M.P. Willcocks

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“And why should an act so natural and so common as murder produce strange and uncommon results? To kill is common to animals, and especially to man. Murder was for long ages regarded in human civilisation as a courageous action, and there still remain in our morals and institutions certain traces of this ancient point of view.”

“What traces?” demanded M. de Terremondre.

“They are to be found in the honours,” replied M. Bergeret, “which are paid to soldiers.”

“That is not the same thing,” said M. de Terremondre.

“Certainly it is,” said M. Bergeret. “For the motive force of all human actions is hunger or love. Hunger taught savages murder, impelled them to wars, to invasions. Civilised nations are like hunting-dogs. A perverted instinct drives them to destroy without profit or reason. The unreasonableness of modern wars disguises itself under dynastic interest, nationality, balance of power, honour. This last pretext is perhaps the most extravagant of all, for there is not a nation in the world that is not sullied with every crime and loaded with every shame. There is not one of them which has not endured all the humiliations that fortune could inflict on a miserable band of men. If there yet remains any honour among the nations, it is a strange means of upholding it to make war — that is to say, to commit all the crimes by which an individual dishonours himself: arson, robbery, rape, murder. And as for the actions whose motive power is love, they are for the most part as violent, as frenzied, as cruel as the actions inspired by hunger; so much so that one must come to the conclusion that man is a mischievous beast. But it still remains to inquire why I know this, and whence it comes that the fact arouses grief and indignation in me. If nothing but evil existed, it would not be visible, as the night would have no name if the sun never rose.”

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Kosovo Army Built After Pentagon Model, NATO Standards

January 24, 2013 4 comments

United States European Command
January 14, 2013

International partnership among noncommissioned officers
Sgt. Angela Parady

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[T]he first conference of its kind to be held in Kosovo…was designed to not only aid in the development of NCOs, but also to network, to build relationships and share ideas on how to better train, develop and prepare soldiers for combat roles.

The conference brought together senior enlisted leaders from all of the Balkan states…They built relationships and discussed how to develop the NCO corps within their militaries based on the NATO standard.

When Kosovo was looking to develop its own military presence, they decided to base it on U.S. doctrine. They trained and built their forces like those in the U.S. Army. Every year they review and develop ways to integrate the NATO system.

In developing an NCO program to meet the NATO objectives, Maddocks pointed to the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Through this program, over 60 countries have been partnered with Army National Guard units to help develop their economies, their military and their leadership.

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U.S. Army Europe Command Sergeant Major Davis Davenport and Command Sergeant Major of the Kosovo Security Forces, Fetah Zejhullahu, at the Regional Senior Noncommissioned Officer Conference for the Land Forces Senior NCO and Senior Enlisted Leader in Pristina, Kosovo, January 14, 2013

PRISTINA, Kosovo: Senior level noncommissioned officers from the Balkans region met during the Regional Senior NCO Conference for the Land Forces Senior NCO and Senior Enlisted Leader in Pristina, Kosovo Monday.

This is the first conference of its kind to be held in Kosovo. U.S. Army Europe Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport Sr., said that this conference was designed to not only aid in the development of NCOs, but also to network, to build relationships and share ideas on how to better train, develop and prepare soldiers for combat roles.

The two-day conference covered topics on development from the International Senior Enlisted Seminar, the role of NCO academies, and NATO’s role in NCO development…

As the region works to develop and advance its military structure, Kosovo is looking to gain insight from the Slovenians, Albanians, Montenegrins and others as they look to improve their security forces. The conference brought together senior enlisted leaders from all of the Balkan states, the U.S. Army Europe Command Sergeant Major, and the U.S. European Command Senior Enlisted Leader as well as representatives from the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command. They built relationships and discussed how to develop the NCO corps within their militaries based on the NATO standard.

When Kosovo was looking to develop its own military presence, they decided to base it on U.S. doctrine. They trained and built their forces like those in the U.S. Army. Every year they review and develop ways to integrate the NATO system. In 2009, the Ahtisaari Plan established the Kosovo Security Force, which according to NATO is a lightly armed force, comprised of 2,500 active and 800 reserve multi-ethnic members.

U.S. Europe Command’s Senior Enlisted Leader Fleet Master Chief Roy Maddocks said the conference brought together senior enlisted personnel in the region to discuss how to further improve and train professional NCOs. They also discussed NATO strategy and standards and offered recommendations to Kosovo Security Forces Commander, Lt. Gen. Kadri Kastrati and his staff on how to further build and develop the NCO Corps.

“The most important resource military leaders possess, is the human resource,” said Maddocks. ‘Whether it is within NATO, within alliances, it is the people who carry out the mission. Whether you are working regionally or independently, you have to develop a standard. A strategy that holds common among the partners.”

Maddocks said that by working together in professional forums such as this, and the International Senior Enlisted Seminar, key enlisted leaders are prepared for multinational environments that are increasingly complex and challenging. The conferences help to continue the development of a professional NCO corps…

“Once you have a common strategy, you can collaborate, cooperate on regional security issues,” said Maddocks. “So we have common strategies, developed relationships. Just by building relationships at these conferences, when it becomes necessary to work together as a security force, it is not the first time you have worked with that country. You already have rapport.”

In developing an NCO program to meet the NATO objectives, Maddocks pointed to the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Through this program, over 60 countries have been partnered with Army National Guard units to help develop their economies, their military and their leadership. With common goals and common challenges, these state partnerships help foster long-term relationships…

Kosovo Security Force Command Sergeant Major Fetah Zejhullahu said this conference was targeted specifically for his senior leaders to work on their relationships amongst the regional armies, from Slovenia to Albania, and with KFOR and EUCOM.

Many of these countries have faced challenges in developing their militaries. Zejhullahu, who has served in the security forces here for the last 13 years, said that after the war Kosovo didn’t have an organized military or any structure for one.

“We looked around to see how we wanted to base the structure, the ideology and the doctrine,” he said. “A lot of the foreign military influence in the past had been negative, and we didn’t want to continue that way.”

Training side by side with NATO Kosovo Force supervision and mentorship has helped the development of this force.

“First we built the officer system, now we work on the NCOs,” said Zejhullahu about the development of the soldiers. “We are a small organization, but we want to be professional. Ready.”

Maddocks, who was deployed to Macedonia and Kosovo in 1998- 1999, said that regionally, the ability to share resources is key to developing the NCO support channels that really get things done. By understanding the shared challenges, they can look at how to share and allocate resources to best meet the goals and challenges that they face.

Categories: Uncategorized

Pentagon Integrates Mexico Into Global Military Network

January 24, 2013 1 comment

U.S. Department of Defense
January 22, 2013

Northcom Pursues Closer Engagement With Mexico
By Donna Miles

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Mexico’s constitution explicitly prohibits foreign forces from operating on Mexican soil. But as SEDENA and SEMAR, Mexico’s army and navy, respectively, shed their internal focus, they are becoming increasingly open to combined training and subject matter expert exchanges

The Mexicans…are modernizing their aviation platforms. Northcom worked with them, through the State Department, to help upgrade their RC-26 aircraft and acquire UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for SEMAR…The United States also is helping Mexico buy C-130J Hercules aircraft through the foreign military sales program…

Last spring, Northcom sponsored a group of Mexican military doctors to observe their American counterparts medically evacuating wounded warriors from Afghanistan. The Mexican group traveled from Afghanistan to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany…

This month, U.S. and Mexican military officials will chart new ground as they begin planning their first bilateral air defense exercise, expected to take place later this year…

“I think our vision, working with Mexico, is that they become more of a regional strategic partner and more of an outward-looking military. I think they’re moving in that direction.”

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Northern Command Emblem [1_5]

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – With a U.S. defense strategy focused heavily on the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, officials at U.S. Northern Command here are enthusiastically advancing engagement to the United States’ immediate southern border.

Mexico, which has long focused its military internally, is increasingly receptive to building a closer bilateral relationship with the U.S. military, Army Maj. Gen. Francis G. Mahon, Northcom’s director for strategy, plans and policy, told American Forces Press Service.

“During the past two to three years, as the Mexican army and Mexican navy have taken on a larger role beyond internal security issues, our relationship with them has really grown and expanded through security cooperation,” Mahon said. “They have opened up to us and said, ‘Let’s start working closer and closer together.’”

That’s good news for the United States, he said, because the United States and Mexico share a 2,000-mile border and are intertwined culturally as well as economically. What happens in Mexico matters to the United States – in terms of trade, immigration and, of particular concern here at Northcom, U.S. national security, he said.

Mexico’s constitution explicitly prohibits foreign forces from operating on Mexican soil. But as SEDENA and SEMAR, Mexico’s army and navy, respectively, shed their internal focus, they are becoming increasingly open to combined training and subject matter expert exchanges, Mahon said.

The Merida Initiative opened the door to increased engagement in 2007, with the United States providing funding and equipment to help Mexican law enforcement fight drug cartels and related criminal elements.

Five years later, the United States expanded the mission to include other efforts that contribute to security…

The bottom line – for the Merida Initiative and for all other theater security cooperation – is about building partnership capacity, Mahon said.

“The end state for Mexico, from our perspective, is that we are their strategic partner of choice in the region, and they are a regional partner who can then assist other nations in the region or respond to other crises in the region…,” he said.

The Mexicans, for example, are modernizing their aviation platforms. Northcom worked with them, through the State Department, to help upgrade their RC-26 aircraft and acquire UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for SEMAR, he said. The United States also is helping Mexico buy C-130J Hercules aircraft through the foreign military sales program, along with the logistics capabilities required to maintain these latest-generation cargo aircraft, Mahon said.

But Mexico’s interest in bilateral cooperation extends beyond equipment.
As Mexican military leaders evaluate their current missions and plan for the future, they are looking to the U.S. military for ideas and techniques that would be useful to them. Members of Marine Forces North, Northcom’s Marine Corps component, are conducting junior noncommissioned officer training for SEMAR at Camp Pendleton, Calif., a step toward helping Mexico to establish its own NCO academy, Mahon said.

Mahon hopes to establish a similar relationship between the U.S. and Mexican armies. To promote that effort, members of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., demonstrated various military techniques while hosting senior SEDENA leaders last year.

Last spring, Northcom sponsored a group of Mexican military doctors to observe their American counterparts medically evacuating wounded warriors from Afghanistan. The Mexican group traveled from Afghanistan to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and ultimately, to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. From this experience, the Mexicans may draw ideas on how to improve their field medicine capacity, Mahon said.

“The scope and breadth of things we are doing with our Mexican partners is very wide. It’s everything from techniques to planning skills…,” Mahon said.

The next big step – one that Mahon said he hopes Northcom will be able to take with Mexico in 2013 – will be the start of bilateral exercises…

Mexican military leaders participated in several tabletop exercises last year through the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. The scenarios, which centered on earthquakes and pandemic outbreaks, incorporated not only the U.S. and Mexican militaries, but also their interagency partners, Mahon said.

Mexico also sent observers last spring to Northcom’s Ardent Sentry, a major exercise that tests the command’s processes for supporting civil authorities in the event of a natural disaster or pandemic. “We hope to integrate that into future exercises that can benefit not only both countries, but also others in the region,” Mahon said.

This month, U.S. and Mexican military officials will chart new ground as they begin planning their first bilateral air defense exercise, expected to take place later this year, he said. As envisioned, the exercise’s scenario will involve a rogue aircraft that flies from the United States into Mexico. U.S. interceptor aircraft scrambled by North American Aerospace Defense Command will shadow the aircraft until it enters Mexican airspace, then will transfer the mission to the Mexican air force.

The scenario…will help both militaries exercise the procedures they would need to follow during a real-life situation, Mahon said.

With two Mexican officers assigned to the Northcom headquarters to help coordinate these initiatives and increasing receptiveness from Mexico, Mahon said, he sees plenty of opportunity for more exchanges and combined training.

“It’s all about getting comfortable with each other and hopefully, advancing in the relationship,” he said. “It would be wonderful, someday, to take a Mexican company to the National Training Center to train with an American battalion or brigade.

“That sounds visionary, but we regularly conduct combined training with other allies and partners. There is no reason we can’t get it going with our Mexican partners,” he said. “I think our vision, working with Mexico, is that they become more of a regional strategic partner and more of an outward-looking military. I think they’re moving in that direction.”

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Middle East To Far East: Pentagon And NATO Divide Up The World

January 24, 2013 3 comments

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
January 21, 2013

”Meeting Today’s Security Challenges”
Introductory remarks by Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General at the ‘Munich Security Conference Kick-Off’ – Berlin Germany

Edited by RR

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As we look to the evolution of our commitment to Afghanistan, we must not forget other changes in the strategic landscape – both outside our Alliance and within it, including the Arab Awakening and the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region.

A coordinated, transatlantic approach can help encourage China to remain a responsible stakeholder in the region and beyond, while consolidating positive changes as we have seen in Burma.

At the same time, the U.S. pivot will require European nations to be better able to address security challenges in and around Europe…

[W]e can continue to build on that progress…so that we can achieve greater cooperation between NATO and the European Union in developing capabilities, in engaging North Africa and the Middle East, and in tackling cyber threats and other new and emerging challenges.

It is increasingly clear that President Assad’s days are numbered…NATO had the foresight…to establish partnerships with several of the nations of North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region through our Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative…They could serve as the framework for NATO to help countries seeking to reshape their societies following the Arab Awakening.

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Thank you, Wolfgang (Ischinger) and State Minister Mueller, for that kind introduction. And thanks to the Deutsche Bahn for getting me here despite the snowy weather. I didn’t want to miss this kick-off event given the importance of the Munich Security Conference. Let me add that It’s an honour to share the podium with such eminent political figures from Germany and from Egypt.

In Washington, just a few minutes ago, President Obama was inaugurated for his second term in office. Being an American, and indeed the first American Deputy Secretary General of NATO, I thought it would be opportune to focus my remarks on the importance of the transatlantic relationship for dealing with many of today’s security challenges. Because, despite all the changes and upheavals of recent years, the transatlantic community remains essential to sustaining our own security and stability, and for addressing new challenges and opportunities around the world.

Let me start with a few comments about NATO’s number one priority…Afghanistan…Some 100,000 troops, mostly from North America and Europe, are working together to help the Afghan government take the lead for security across the country…

But that will not be the end of NATO’s commitment to Afghanistan. We are already planning a post-ISAF mission that will focus on training, advising and assisting, the Afghan National Security Forces beyond 2014.

At the same time, closer cooperation with Afghanistan’s neighbours is needed to help prevent the re-creation of havens for terrorist training and other illegal activities such as narcotics production…

As we look to the evolution of our commitment to Afghanistan, we must not forget other changes in the strategic landscape – both outside our Alliance and within it, including the Arab Awakening and the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region.

In the coming years, the United States will continue its strategic pivot towards the Pacific. Given that North America and Europe share the same goals of open markets, open seas, and open political dialogue, there is every reason for Europe to support that pivot – and even to be part of it. A coordinated, transatlantic approach can help encourage China to remain a responsible stakeholder in the region and beyond, while consolidating positive changes as we have seen in Burma.

At the same time, the U.S. pivot will require European nations to be better able to address security challenges in and around Europe – and in the process, to help create a fairer sharing of the burdens within NATO…

For example, fifteen years ago, during the Kosovo conflict, the United States dropped 90% of the precision-guided munitions, and the other Allies dropped only 10%. Two years ago, during our mission…in Libya…it was the other way around.

Today, European Allies are involved in each of the 24 multinational ‘Smart Defence’ projects that we have agreed in NATO to improve our capabilities while getting “more bang for the Euro.” Europeans, in fact, are leading two-thirds of these projects. European Allies are also making important contributions to NATO’s fledgling missile defence system – and we expect to see further contributions in the future. At the same time, European nations are also making progress in the EU framework with complementary pooling-and-sharing initiatives.

I am confident that we can continue to build on that progress in the coming years – so that Europe will be better able to meet its security responsibilities; and so that we can achieve greater cooperation between NATO and the European Union in developing capabilities, in engaging North Africa and the Middle East, and in tackling cyber threats and other new and emerging challenges.

One very urgent challenge is the crisis on our south-eastern border. The Alliance remains deeply concerned by the situation in Syria…

[W]e are currently deploying Patriot missiles to…Turkey…This decision demonstrates our solidarity as an Alliance. But it also shows the ability of European Allies to deliver real security. And I want to use this opportunity to thank the German Government for the determination it has shown on this issue.

It is increasingly clear that President Assad’s days are numbered. Within our transatlantic community, I think we must begin to consider how we might help a post-Assad Syria make the transition…

NATO has considerable experience, including with disarming militias, securing military sites, and assisting security sector reform…We must be ready to make that expertise available if it is requested by the Syrians, in concert with the United Nations and regional organizations like the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

NATO had the foresight, beginning in the mid-90s, to establish partnerships with several of the nations of North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region through our Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. These partnerships provided the basis for four of our Middle Eastern partners to contribute military forces to our Libya operations.

They could serve as the framework for NATO to help countries seeking to reshape their societies following the Arab Awakening.

But let me add that, although I’m proud to be called NATO-centric, I realise that NATO doesn’t have all the answers. In the case of Mali, for example, it makes sense for the European Union, led by France and working with African nations and regional organisations, to take the lead in managing the crisis. But as we have seen in recent days, the ongoing efforts…have received tangible assistance from Europe’s North American partners in the form of intelligence, airlift and other logistical support…

Categories: Uncategorized

Byron: War, banquet for wolf and worm

January 24, 2013 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

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Byron: War cuts up not only branch, but root

Byron: War did glut himself again, all earth was but one thought – and that was death

Stendhal and Byron: Military leprosy; fronts of brass and feet of clay

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George Gordon Byron
From The Devil’s Drive

uewb_02_img0133

[F]irst as he flew, I forgot to say,
That he hovered a moment upon his way
To look upon Leipsic plain;
And so sweet to his eye was its sulphury glare,
And so soft to his ear was the cry of despair,
That he perched on a Mountain of Slain;
Then he gazed with delight from its growing height,
Nor seldom on earth had he seen such a sight,
Nor his work done half as well:
For the field ran so red with the blood of the dead,
That it blushed like the waves of Hell!
Then loudly and wildly and long laughed he:
‘Methinks they have little need here of me.’

Long he looked down on the hosts of each clime,
While the warriors hand to hand were -
Gaul, Austrian and Muscovite heroes sublime,
And (Muse of Fitzgerald arise with a rhyme!)
A quantity of Landwehr!
Gladness was there,
For the men of all might and the monarchs of earth,
Were met for the wolf and the worm to make mirth,
And a feast for the fowls of the Air!

But the softest note that soothed his ear
Was the sound of a widow’s sighing;
And the sweetest sight was the icy tear,
Which Horror froze in the blue eye clear
Of a maid by her lover lying -
As round her fell her long fair hair,
And she looked to Heaven with that frenzied air
Which seemed to ask if a God were there!
And stretched by the wall of a ruined hut,
With its hollow cheek, and eyes half shut,
A child of Famine dying:
And the carnage begun, when resistance is done,
And the fall of the vainly flying!

Then he gazed on a town by besiegers taken,
Nor cared he who were winning;
But he saw an old maid, for years forsaken,
Get up and leave her spinning;
And she looked in her glass, and to one that did pass,
She said – ‘pray are the rapes beginning?’

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Turks Rally Against NATO Missile Deployment Near Syrian Border

January 23, 2013 1 comment

Voice of Russia
January 23, 2013

Residents of Turkish province say no to NATO’s Patriots

Part of the NATO Patriot anti-missile complexes, which were requested by Ankara from the Alliance, has already arrived in Turkey. They are planned to be deployed near the border with Syria, ostensibly to protect Turkey against possible missile attacks from the Syrian side.

Anti-missile complexes will be also located in the southeastern province of Kahramanmarash. Contrary to the authorities’ assertions that Patriots will only carry out defensive tasks, locals have serious concerns about their safety.

“We strongly object to the deployment of the NATO military facilities in the territory of Turkey since this exacerbates our relations with our neighbors, which were at an excellent level only 10 years ago. We went through that in 1991, when the missiles were deployed in Incirlik. Then, too, it was asserted that they were destined exclusively for defensive purposes. However, this did not prevent full-scale and unreasonable bombings of Iraq”, Esat Shengul, head of the regional branch of the main opposition Republican People’s Party said to the Voice of Russia.

In his opinion, the deployment of Patriots is part of the American Greater Middle East project, aimed at providing free access to energy resources.

Head of the local branch of the Nationalist Movement Party Mustafa Bastirmaji agrees with Shengul. “The West is trying to cause a clash between the peoples of the region. Moreover, it tries to unleash a Sunni-Shiite war in the region. Elements of such a confrontation are already evident in Syria. Later Iran’s turn will come. And it is scary to imagine what will happen then. We do not want it”, the politician stated in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

Turkish activists rally against NATO’s Patriot deployment

Turks have rallied against the NATO deployment of Patriot missiles on the country’s soil, media report.

Some 150 leftists and right-wing activists lit smoke bombs and burned an American flag outside the port area as dozens of camouflaged German military vehicles carrying Patriot batteries were offloaded in Iskenderun.

Another rally in downtown Iskenderun later gathered thousands of anti-NATO protesters, who chanted “Yankee go home!” and “Murderer America, get out of the Middle East!”

Some protesters said the root of evil was the “collaborationist government,” and not Syria. Riot police arrested several demonstrators.

Voice of Russia, RBC

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Atlantic Values: Bahrain’s King Receives NATO Delegation

January 22, 2013 1 comment

Bahrain News Agency
January 22, 2013

HM the King receives NATO delegation

NATO-Bahrain Public Diplomacy Conference in Manama, Bahrain - 23-25 April 2008
Then-NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Foreign Minister of Bahrain Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa in 2008

Manama: His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa today received at Sakhir Palace the British ambassador to Bahrain Iain Lindsay accompanied by a parliamentary delegation from the military and security affairs committee at NATO led by Sir John Stanley on the occasion of its visit to the kingdom.

His Majesty welcomed the visiting delegation and discussed with them means of further developing cooperation between the Kingdom of Bahrain and NATO towards achieving joint interest for both sides. He also stressed on Bahrain’s keenness in further strengthening these ties being a strategic partner despite the fact that it is a non-NATO member. His Majesty emphasised on the importance of exchanging expertise and visits in the fields that supported security, stability and peace in the region and world. He also lauded the great efforts exerted by NATO and effective contributions in maintaining peace and preserving security and stability in the region and other areas in the world. His Majesty expressed his appreciation for NATO’s care towards further bolstering horizons of cooperation with the Kingdom of Bahrain in military and security fields.

Meanwhile, the NATO delegation during the meeting affirmed the strategic role played by the Kingdom of Bahrain due to its exceptional geographic position and its great role both regionally and internationally. The delegation also welcomed the noble call by His Majesty for the resumption of the national unity dialogue affirming that dialogue was the ideal solution to develop the democratic experience in the country. The NATO delegation expressed their admiration towards the outstanding standards of the Bahrain Defense Force and its strategic role in supporting regional security.

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Romain Rolland: To the undying Antigone; waging war against war

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

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Romain Rolland: Selections on war

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Romain Rolland
To the Undying Antigone (1915)
Translated by Eden and Cedar Paul

rolland

The most potent action within the competence of us all, men and women alike, is individual action, the action of man on man, of soul on soul, action by word, by example, by the whole personality. Women of Europe, you fail to use this power as you should. You are now attempting to extirpate the plague which afflicts the world, to wage war against the war. You do well, but your action comes too late. You could have fought, you ought to have fought, against this war before it broke out; to have fought it in the hearts of men. You do not realise your power over us. Mothers, sisters, helpmates, friends, sweethearts, you are able, and you will, to mould man’s soul. The soul of the child is in your hands; and in relation to a woman whom he respects and loves, a man is ever a child. Why do you not guide his footsteps?

If I may give a personal example, let me say that to certain among you I owe what is best or what is least bad in my own nature. If, during this whirlwind, I have been able to maintain unshaken my faith in human brotherhood, my love of love, and my scorn of hate, I owe this to a few women. To name but two among them: I owe it to my mother, a true Christian, who in early childhood inspired me with a passion for the eternal; and I owe it to the great European, Malvida von Meysenbug, the sublime idealist, who in her serene old age was the friend of my youth.

If a woman can save one man’s soul, why do not you women save all men’s souls? The reason, doubtless, is that too few among you have as yet saved your own souls. Begin at the beginning! Here is a matter more urgent than the conquest of political rights (whose practical importance I am far from under-rating). The most urgent matter is the conquest of yourselves. Cease to be man’s shadow; cease to be the shadow of man’s passions, of his pride and of his impulse towards destruction. Gain a clear vision of the brotherly duty of sympathy, of mutual aid, of the community of all beings; these make up the supreme law prescribed to Christians by the voice of Christ, and to free spirits by the free reason. Yet how many of you in Europe to-day are carried away by the gusts of passion which have overpowered the minds of men; how many of you, instead of enlightening men, add their own fever to the universal delirium!

Begin by making peace within yourselves. Rid yourselves of the spirit of blind combativeness. Do not allow yourselves to be embroiled in the struggle. You will not make an end of the war by making war on the war; your first step should be to save your own hearts from the war, by saving from the general conflagration the FUTURE WHICH IS WITHIN YOU. To each word of hatred uttered by the combatants, make answer by an act of kindness and love toward all the victims. Let your simple presence show a calm disavowal of errant passions; make of yourselves onlookers whose luminous and compassionate gaze compels us to blush at our own unreason. Amid war, be the living embodiment of peace. Be the undying Antigone, who renounces hatred, and who makes no distinction between her suffering and warring brethren.

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Mali: France’s New Afghanistan

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Global Times
January 22, 2013

Hollande has set alarming precedent for intervention
By He Wenping*

Edited by RR

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Mali: U.S. Africa Command’s New War?

Ivory Coast: Testing Ground For U.S.-Backed African Standby Force

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Since France launched military strikes against Mali rebels on January 11, the little-known West African country, which has been mired in a crisis for over a year, suddenly came under the media spotlight and made headlines around the world.

In view of the developing situation on the ground, the high-profile move by French forces has directly turned the tables and objectively enhanced France’s influence in Africa while at the same time boosting its international status.

Mali was one of the first sub-Saharan countries to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China, and Sino-Malian relations have been good. In addition to this, China has certain interests in Mali through its investment projects.

[T]here is one possible cause for alarm – French forces’ involvement in Mali will provide the case for legalization of a new interventionism in Africa.

Although France became involved in Mali under the banner of anti-terrorism, it is not entirely accurate to say that Malian rebels are terrorists. The nature of the Mali issue is more akin to that of a civil war among different political groups.

Compared with other regions across the world, Africa is a special continent where a majority of nations gained independence after World War II, and the borders of each nation were mostly demarcated by its former colonial masters.

Therefore, Africans’ sense of national identity and concept of sovereignty is quite weak, while their sense of ethnic and religious identity is much stronger. This creates opportunities for Western and other outside forces to intervene in the internal affairs of African countries.

Africa is a region where France has had the deepest impact and operated for the longest period of time. Former president Charles de Gaulle and successive governments have all seen Africa as a “forward base” to support France’s leadership, regard maintaining France’s special interests in French-speaking African countries as a core of African policy, and stress that France would become a second-rate country without Africa.

Moreover, France’s direct economic interests in Mali cannot be underestimated. That’s why President François Hollande, who is said to have “the least interest in Africa,” reversed his low-key image and decided to actively intervene in the continent.

Of course, France’s involvement in Mali is still a risky business. One of the drawbacks of this action is that it brings back memories of the “African gendarmerie” – France’s colonial status.

Although France explained its move as a request from the current government, the same request from the president of the Central African Republic, which also faced an offensive from rebels, failed to get help due to France’s own interests. France then bears the blame for acting with double standards in African affairs as an African gendarmerie. In addition, committing troops to Mali brings added burdens to the stagnant French economy.

As a result, international opinion is beginning to suspect that France may be repeating the missteps of the US in Afghanistan. Whether France can create long-term stability in Mali is far from certain.

*The author is a director of African Studies under the Institute of West Asian and African Studies, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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Kosovo: NATO’s Neo-Nazi Clients On New Rampage

January 22, 2013 1 comment

Beta News Agency
January 22, 2013

KPS suspend members over WW2 memorial incident
Source: Beta

PRIŠTINA: The Kosovo police, KPS, have announced that five of their members were suspended over an incident that occurred on Monday in the town of Vitina.

They include the police station and operations chief, according to a statement.

According to a Beta report, it was said that “despite announcements” from the directorate in Priština, they did not undertake the measures to prevent the tearing down of a monument.

The memorial was dedicated to the fighters of the WW2 anti-fascist Partisan troops (NOV).

According to the news agency, “a group of about 100 citizens led by the president of the organization of veterans of the former KLA” yesterday attacked and brought down the memorial.

The incident – filmed and posted on YouTube – was one in a series in Kosovo on Sunday and Monday, when ethnic Albanians targeted Serb cemeteries and memorial sites.

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Beta News Agency/Tanjug News Agency
January 21, 2013

Serb cemeteries, memorials desecrated in Kosovo

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Kosovska Mitorovica Mayor Krstimir Pantić criticized NATO troops, KFOR, who are deployed nearby, saying that the building was attacked on several other occasions and that, despite the fact the soldiers were standing several dozen meters away, the perpetrators have never been found and punished.

A memorial in the Serb enclave in Goraždevac, raised to honor the victims of NATO’s 1999 bombing, and the Serb children gunned down while swimming in the Bistrica River in 2003, was also targeted.

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KOSOVSKA MITROVICA: Incidents were reported from Kosovo on Sunday and Monday, including an attempt to stage an attack on a monastery, and desecration of several Serb cemeteries.

In Kosovska Mitrovica, two firebombs were thrown at the municipal building, causing no injuries or material damages. The perpetrators “quickly escaped the scene”, while members of the Kosovo police, KPS, “arrived there shortly after the attack”, according to reports.

Kosovska Mitorovica Mayor Krstimir Pantić criticized NATO troops, KFOR, who are deployed nearby, saying that the building was attacked on several other occasions and that, despite the fact the soldiers were standing several dozen meters away, the perpetrators have never been found and punished.

Pantić also announced that “as of tomorrow, the Civil Defense will take over the responsibility of securing personal and property safety of the citizens and the municipality”.

According to reports, ethnic Albanians in the town of Đakovica held a protest there and then headed for a nearby Serb Orthodox monastery…

The monastery was once before targeted by Albanians, when it was burned down in March 2004. The holy place has in the meantime been reconstructed.

Meanwhile, 27 tombstones were destroyed in a Serb cemetery in Klokot. The Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija urged the international community representatives in Kosovo to find the “vandals” behind the incident as soon as possible.

Three more Serb Orthodox cemeteries were desecrated in Kosovo overnight, in the villages of Prilužje, Miloševo and Plemetina.

Beta news agency is reporting that explosives were used late on Sunday to blow up a tombstone on a cemetery plot belonging to a local Serb family in Prilužje.

A memorial in the Serb enclave in Goraždevac, raised to honor the victims of NATO’s 1999 bombing, and the Serb children gunned down while swimming in the Bistrica River in 2003, was also targeted.

In Vitina, a memorial for the members of the WW2 anti-fascist resistance (NOV), was also attacked. A video has surfaced on YouTube showing a crowd destroying the memorial, with several members of the KPS standing by without attempting to prevent them.

Radio Goraždevac editor Darko Dimitrijević said that shots had been fired at the memorial, and that this disturbed some 1,000 Serbs who live in this village in Metohija.

These incidents took place after a memorial built without a permit to honor members of the UCMPB (OVPMB) was removed from downtown Preševo, in southern Serbia.

The now disbanded ethnic Albanian group was considered terrorist by the authorities for launching attacks against police, military and civilian targets in the area in 2000 and 2001.

The government in Priština called on “the citizens of Kosovo and Albanians in the Preševo valley” to express their dissatisfcation in a civilized manner, “without falling for the provocations of the Serbian government”.

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Tanjug News Agency
January 22, 2013

“Desecrating cemeteries goes against civilization”

BELGRADE: Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dačić condemned on Monday the desecration of Serb cemeteries and historical monuments in Kosovo.

He also stated that the international forces there were obligated to protect the Serbian cultural heritage.

He said the desecration of Serb cemeteries was an act that went against civilization.

“I point out to the international forces and organizations in Kosovo that they are obligated to ensure peace and safety for all people, their property and cultural heritage,” Dačić stated.

“The event in Preševo cannot be used as an excuse, because an illegally placed memorial to members of the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Liberation Army of Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa was peacefully removed from there,” Dačić remarked.

“This is about vandalizing cemeteries and attacking churches and monasteries, which is something that has not and will not happen in southern Serbia,” the prime minister told Tanjug.

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U.S.’s Dangerous Stance Adds To East China Sea War Threat

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

China Daily
January 21, 2013

US’ dangerous stance

The United States is sending a dangerous message on the territorial dispute between China and Japan, which may lead the tension in the East China Sea to spin out of control.

On the one hand, after talking with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Washington on Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country wants to see China and Japan resolve this matter peacefully through dialogue: “We do not want to see any action taken by anyone that could raise tensions or result in miscalculations that would undermine the peace, security, and economic growth in this region.”

On the other hand, she announced that China’s Diaoyu Islands are under the administration of Japan and the US-Japan Security Treaty obliges the US to defend Japan in the event of island-related hostilities.

The US has complicated the territorial dispute between China and Japan. Although it claims to be ostensibly neutral, its partiality to its ally emboldened Japan to “nationalize” three of the Diaoyu Islands last September, breaking the two countries previous consensus to shelve the dispute.

Japan stole the islands from China and held them until the end of World War II, when the US took control. Based on the backroom Okinawa Reversion Treaty, the US returned them to Japan in 1972 amid protests from China.

This was counter to the principles of the Cairo Declaration of 1943 and the Potsdam Proclamation of 1945, which obliged Japan to return all the territories it stole from China.

By putting the Diaoyu Islands under the US’ treaty obligations, the US Secretary of State has highlighted that the US will go against any unilateral action that will infringe upon the administration rights of Japan.

Clinton’s words made clear to all that the US will allow its security treaty with Japan to go beyond the bilateral scope and undermine the sovereignty of China.

The way the US is bracing and bolstering Japan is dangerous given Japan’s plans and the way Japan is letting the tension flare up. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said last week that Japan may fire tracer bullets as warning shots at Chinese planes that patrol the Diaoyu Islands.

Clinton’s remarks have only added fuel to the fire.

The region welcomes the US if it acts as a peacemaker, not if it acts as a provocateur.

Categories: Uncategorized

China-U.S. Tensions: Heading Toward War?

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Global Times
January 21, 2013

Mixed US signals need not alarm China

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China’s priority is to maintain our attitude toward the Diaoyu Islands. We have to help other sides properly understand us. There should have no ambiguity when it comes to China’s willingness to counterattack in the event of a military provocation. As long as there is understanding, the words of the US won’t seem so important.

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Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the US has no position on the Diaoyu Islands dispute. She did however, claim that the islands are under the administrative jurisdiction of Japan and that the US opposes any unilateral moves to encroach on Japan’s area of jurisdiction. This demonstrates that the US has admitted its bias in the Diaoyu Islands dispute.

This doesn’t come as a surprise. If further escalation of the confrontation between China and Japan occurs, such signs of bias may also be demonstrated by the US military. If the situation leads to conflict, US forces in Japan will take further actions to exert pressure on China. China should be psychologically prepared for this.

Some elements of the Diaoyu Islands disputes and the South China Sea disputes will be partly transformed into a competition between China and the US. If we regard Clinton’s remarks as a significant change, the whole diplomatic strategy of our country should be revised and the importance of our national rejuvenation needs to be reexamined.

Does this mean that military conflict between China and the US will be triggered by a conflict such as the Diaoyu Islands dispute? Perhaps not.

It will depend on whether the US has the determination to contain China’s rise via military means. We have not yet seen such determination.

With China’s rise, the risks faced by the US in any military action will increase. Obviously, the US does not want to face such risks if they can be avoided.

It also depends on whether China moves to directly threaten core US interests. If China expands its forces and tries to drive the US out of East Asia, the US will resort to military action despite the risks. However, China has no such intention.

The Diaoyu Islands lie within the range of our national defense forces’ effective zone of deterrence, so US tactical intervention has no certainty of success. China has enough military and non-military means to retaliate against US actions.

Therefore, China should treat subtle changes in US statements rationally. There’s no need to exaggerate words that suit China’s aims, nor be afraid of US bias. US influence is important, but not so powerful that China cannot deal with it.

There is going to be a very complex period involving games between China, the US and Japan. These three sides will test each other’s bottom line as well as enjoy the benefits brought about by cooperation. They do not intend to go to war, but they are all preparing for an emergency. Despite the many tactical uncertainties, it is not the time for powers in the Western Pacific to engage in a strategic collision. The Diaoyu Islands are not big enough to be the trigger for this.

China’s priority is to maintain our attitude toward the Diaoyu Islands. We have to help other sides properly understand us. There should have no ambiguity when it comes to China’s willingness to counterattack in the event of a military provocation. As long as there is understanding, the words of the US won’t seem so important.

Categories: Uncategorized

George Gissing: When the next great war comes, newspapers will be the chief cause of it

January 21, 2013 3 comments

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

George Gissing: The imposition of military servitude

George Gissing: Letter to a son killed in war: War is a horrible thing that ought to be left to savages

George Gissing: Lord of Slaughter commands curse of universal soldiering

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George Gissing

From The Crown of Life (1899)

george gissing

“My dear boy,” said his father weightily, “we talk very much, and very badly; in pulpit, and Parliament, and press, We want the man who has something new to say, and knows how to say it. For my own part, I don’t think, when he comes, that he will glorify explosives. I want to hear someone talk about Peace — and not from the commercial point of view. The slaughterers shan’t have it all their own way, Arnold; civilisation will be too strong for them, and if Old England doesn’t lead in that direction, it will be her shame to the end of history.”

***

He lived much in the past, brooding upon his years of activity as author, journalist, lecturer, conspirator, between 1846 and 1870. He talked in his long days of silence with men whose names are written in history, men whom he had familiarly known, with whom he had struggled and hoped for the Better Time. Mazzini and Herzen, Kossuth and Ledru-Rollin, Bakounine, Louis Blanc, and a crowd of less eminent fighters in the everlasting war of human emancipation. The war that aims at Peace; the strife that assails tyranny, and militarism, and international hatred. Beginning with Chartism (and narrowly escaping the fierce penalties suffered by some of his comrades), he grew to wider activities, and for a moment seemed likely to achieve a bright position among the liberators of mankind…

***

“Do you like caviare, Mr. Otway?”

“Except perhaps that supplied by the literary censor,” was his laughing reply.

“Now I am intriguee. Please explain.”

“We call caviare the bits blacked out in our newspapers and periodicals.”

“Unpalatable enough!” laughed Irene. “How angry that would make me!”

“I got used to it,” said Piers, “and thought it rather good fun sometimes. After all, a wise autocrat might well prohibit newspapers altogether, don’t you think? They have done good, I suppose, but they are just as likely to do harm. When the next great war comes, newspapers will be the chief cause of it. And for mere profit, that’s the worst. There are newspaper proprietors in every country, who would slaughter half mankind for the pennies of the half who were left, without caring a fraction of a penny whether they had preached war for a truth or a lie.”

“But doesn’t a newspaper simply echo the opinions and feelings of its public?”

“I’m afraid it manufactures opinion, and stirs up feeling. Consider how very few people know or care anything about most subjects of international quarrel. A mere handful at the noisy centre of things who make the quarrel. The business of newspapers, in general, is to give a show of importance to what has no real importance at all — to prevent the world from living quietly — to arouse bitterness when the natural man would be quite different.”

“Oh, surely you paint them too black! We must live, we can’t let the world stagnate. Newspapers only express the natural life of peoples, acting and interacting.”

“I suppose I quarrel with them,” said Piers, once more subduing himself, “because they have such gigantic power and don’t make anything like the best use of it.”

***

“And for Napoleon, too, I suppose. Napoleon — a wild beast with a genius for arithmetic.”

John Jacks let his eyes rest upon the speaker, interested and amused.

“That’s how you see him? Not a bad definition. I suppose the truth is, we know nothing about human history. The old view was good for working by —Jehovah holding his balance, smiting on one side, and rewarding on the other. It’s our national view to this day. The English are an Old Testament people; they never cared about the New. Do you know that there’s a sect who hold that the English are the Lost Tribes — the People of the Promise? I see a great deal to be said for that idea. No other nation has such profound sympathy with the history and the creeds of Israel. Did you ever think of it? That Old Testament religion suits us perfectly — our arrogance and our pugnaciousness; this accounts for its hold on the mind of the people; it couldn’t be stronger if the bloodthirsty old Tribes were truly our ancestors. The English seized upon their spiritual inheritance as soon as a translation of the Bible put it before them. In Catholic days we fought because we enjoyed it, and made no pretences; since the Reformation we have fought for Jehovah.”

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China: Clinton’s Words On Island Dispute Among Most Aggressive Ever

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Global Times
January 21, 2013

Clinton heats up Diaoyu row
By Bai Tiantian

China Sunday expressed strong dissatisfaction and opposed US comments regarding the disputes between Beijing and Tokyo over the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a veiled warning to Beijing not to challenge Tokyo’s control of the disputed islets.

Observers said the latest US comment was “one of the most aggressive” positions on the disputes, and was dangerous enough to embolden Japanese right-wing politicians to make more radical moves on the disputes.

Qin Gang, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Sunday called Clinton’s comments “ignorant of the facts” and “indiscriminate in terms of right and wrong,” and said the US bears undeniable historical responsibility for the issue of the Diaoyu Islands, referring to the fact that despite opposition from China, the US put the islands under Japanese control after World War II.

“We urge the US side to adopt a responsible attitude in regard to the issue of the Diaoyu Islands. It should be careful with its words and acts, and maintain regional peace, stability and the general situation of China-US relations with practical actions and build credit with the Chinese people,” Qin said.

Qin’s comment was made in response to a speech by Clinton on Friday during a joint news conference at the State Department after holding a meeting with the new Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

“Although the US does not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the islands, we acknowledge they are under the administration of Japan,” Clinton said.

“We oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration, and we urge all parties to take steps to prevent incidents and manage disagreements through peaceful means,” said the outgoing secretary of state, who also invited new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to visit Washington next month.

Japan’s Kyodo News commented that it was the first time Clinton had clearly stated Washington’s opposition to altering the status quo regarding the isles.

Qu Xing, director of the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times Sunday that the US’ explicit support for Japan showed a big change in Washington’s public tone over the issue, and that Washington’s stance on the Diaoyu row is “never neutral.”

Qu’s opinion was echoed by Ni Feng, an expert on East Asia security affairs from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who told the Global Times that Clinton’s statement is one of the most aggressive comments over the Diaoyu Islands ever released by the US.

“It complicates the current situation between China and Japan and will very likely deepen the conflict as the statement clearly encourages Japanese right-wing politicians to make more radical moves since the statement assured them of US protection should a military clash break out,” Qu said.

Since December 13, 2012, Chinese government aircraft have conducted several patrols in the airspace over the Diaoyu Islands, prompting Japan to scramble F-15 fighter jets to the area.

On January 10, China sent two J-10 fighters to the East China Sea after a Chinese Y-8 aircraft was closely followed by two Japanese F-15 fighters as it patrolled the southwestern airspace of the East China Sea oil platform.

Qu said the aggressiveness of Clinton’s speech is a signal that the US believes a military conflict between the two countries is more likely to happen given the tense situation.

“It would be a political and economic disaster for the US if the world’s second largest economy and the world’s third largest economy engaged in a war,” warned Ni.

Despite rising tensions between the two neighbors, the channel for dialogues is still open.

A handwritten letter from Abe is expected to be sent to Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central committee, this week by Natsuo Yamaguchi, the head of the New Komeito Party and Abe’s close ally, to initiate a high-level talk over the territorial dispute, the Nikkei newspaper reported.

Xinhua contributed to this story

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NATO Missiles Arrive In Turkey: Reports

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Russian Information Agency Novosti
January 21, 2013

NATO Missiles Arrive in Turkey – Reports

ANKARA: The Suecia Seaways cargo ship with Patriot missiles onboard arrived Monday at the Turkish port of Iskenderun, local media reported.

According to the Anadolu news agency, the missiles it carried from Germany will be stationed in Kahramanmaras, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) inside Turkey’s border with Syria, while the Dutch systems will be deployed in the Adana Province.

Germany has sent 240 soldiers to Turkey. An advance Bundeswehr team is already on site. The deployment will number some 350 German soldiers, including medics, Deutsche Welle said.

The main German contingent flew out of Berlin Sunday. Two German Patriot units are to be fully operational by early February.

NATO agreed in December to station two units from each of the three NATO partners (Germany, the Netherlands, and the US) at the request of its member Turkey, after Syrian shelling along the border killed five Turkish civilians in October.

In early January, US personnel and equipment began arriving at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to support NATO’s Patriot battery deployment, the US European Command (Eucom) said.

The PAC-2 version of the Patriot missile works by exploding close to an incoming missile. The more advanced PAC-3 hits the incoming missile directly.

NATO approved the Patriot batteries deployment last month, after a request filed by Turkey. Russia has repeatedly protested the deployment, warning that it would mean the direct involvement of NATO forces in the Syrian conflict, further undermining the already unstable situation in the region.

The duration of the deployment will be determined by the contributing nations in coordination with Turkey and NATO, the Eucom said.

Tensions between Turkey and Syria flared dangerously this summer after Damascus shot down a Turkish fighter that had violated its airspace. Turkey threatened retaliation if there was any repeat of the incident, although it admitted the plane had mistakenly strayed slightly into Syria.

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U.S., NATO Destabilize Iraq Through Qatar, Turkey

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Press TV
January 20, 2013

US, NATO seek to create chaos in Iraq through Qatar, Turkey

Qatar and Turkey receive orders from the United States and NATO to create insecurity in Iraq, says an Iranian lawmaker.

Nozar Shafiei, a member of Iran’s Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, said on Saturday that Doha and Ankara play a major role in creating chaos in Iraq at the behest of Washington and the alliance of NATO. The same thing happens in Syria, the Iranian lawmaker added.

Shafiei pointed out that Iran has no intention to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. However, the Islamic Republic should monitor the developments in Syria and Iraq in view of the spillover effects of the events in those countries.

Several anti-government demonstrations have been held in Iraq since December 23, 2012, when bodyguards of Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi were arrested on terrorism-related charges.

The demonstrators allege that the arrests were made on sectarian grounds. They demand an end to anti-terrorism laws, but the government in Baghdad says it is up to the Iraqi parliament to decide on abolishing those laws. The government says there are foreign agendas behind the protests.

Supporters of the Iraqi government have also held demonstrations in several cities over the past few weeks.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki promised on January 2 to consider some of the protesters’ demands but he warned of police intervention if protesters abused their freedom, caused chaos, and compromised national security.

On January 15, an Iraqi lawmaker and five others, including three of his bodyguards, were killed in a bomb attack in the western province of Anbar.

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Karl Kraus: The vampire generation; prayer in wartime

January 21, 2013 1 comment

====

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

***

Karl Kraus: Selections on war

====

Karl Kraus
The Prayer (1920)
Translated by Karl F. Ross

schieberth_hermann-karl_kraus~OMe8b300~10509_20100330_38F00330_62

Almighty God, avert these eyes of mine!
Grant me a merciful forgetting,
lest I must witness how they take to wine
as mock replacement for the blood they’re letting.

Almighty God, dispel this evil day!
To childhood take me back in kindness.
The end is still so very far away,
so strike me – like those conquerors – with blindness.

Almighty God, so let my tongue go numb!
Keep me from mouthing their expressions.
They make themselves not only dead but dumb,
with Truth the victim of their hate-obsessions.

Almighty God, Creator of the thought -
they killed it off by their conniving.
Their word has turned all earthly worth to naught,
with neither deeds nor even Death surviving.

Almighty God, obstruct my ears as well!
The music’s pitch is climbing higher.
Poor Satan got the shivers down in Hell -
now he feels so cozy in this cannon fire.

Almighty God, Who gave the living breath
to men of science and invention:
that they should pay You back by dealing death
with toxic gases – was that Your intention?

Almighty God, why did you call me here
at just this time so forsaken?
You smite with famine, yet the profiteer
enjoys his meal unpunished and unshaken.

Almighty God, why did it have to be
this era and this blood arena
where he who still lives sits down with glee
to feast upon the dead like a hyena?

Almighty God, this country is a scroll
on which with blood they are inscribing
their merry parties. Murder pays the toll.
Their songs make sorrow target of their gibing.

Almighty God, did You perhaps in rage
create the vampire generation?
Then save me from this breed and from this age,
this parasites-and-hangmen type of nation!

Almighty God, find me a land on earth
where money is no lethal tender,
and where man inherits rights at birth
which he may not for shameful gain surrender!

Almighty God, have You no means at all
to stop these robot politicians
who, fearing not the final trumpet call,
pursue their war with cannons and commissions?

Almighty God, remove me from this scheme
and from this bloodstained path I tread on.
Convert this nightmare into just a dream,
a vision of Your coming Armageddon!

***

Gebet

Du großer Gott, laß mich nicht Zeuge sein!
Hilf mir hinab ins Unbewußte.
Daß ich nicht sehen muß, wie sie mit Wein
zur Not ersetzen ihre Blutverluste.

Du großer Gott, vertreib mir diese Zeit!
Hilf mir zurück in meine Kindheit.
Der Weg zum Ende ist ja doch so weit,
und wie die Sieger schlage mich mit Blindheit.

Du großer Gott, so mach den Mund mir stumm!
Nicht sprechen will ich ihre Sprache.
Erst machen sie sich tot und dann noch dumm,
es lügt ihr Haß, nimmt an der Wahrheit Rache.

Du großer Gott, der den Gedanken gab,
ihr Wort hat ihm den Rest gegeben.
Ihr Wort ist allem Werte nur ein Grab,
selbst Tat und Tod kam durch das Wort ums Leben.

Du großer Gott, verschließ dem Graus mein Ohr,
die Weltmusik ist ungeheuer!
Dem armen Teufel in der Hölle fror,
er fühlt sich wohl in diesem Trommelfeuer.

Du großer Gott, der die Erfinder schuf
und Odem haucht’ in ihre Nasen,
schufst du die Kreatur zu dem Beruf,
daß sie dir dankt mit ihren giftigen Gasen?

Du großer Gott, warum beriefst du mich
in diese gottverlassene Qualzeit?
Strafst du mit Hunger, straflos setzte sich
der Wucher zu der fetten Totenmahlzeit.

Du großer Gott, warum in dieser Frist,
wozu ward ich im blutigen Hause,
wo jeder, der noch nicht getötet ist,
sich fröhlich setzt zu seinem Leichenschmause?

Du großer Gott, dies Land ist ein Plakat,
auf dem sie ihre Feste malen
mit Blut. Ihr Lied übt an dem Leid Verrat,
der Mord muß für die Hetz’ die Zeche zahlen.

Du großer Gott, hast du denn aus Gemüt
Vampyre dieser Welt erschaffen?
Befrei mich aus der Zeit, aus dem Geblüt,
unseligem Volk von Henkern und Schlaraffen!

Du großer Gott, erobere mir ein Land,
wo Menschen nicht am Gelde sterben,
und wo im ewig irdischen Bestand
sie lachend nicht die reiche Schande erben!

Du großer Gott, kennst du die Mittel nicht,
die diese Automaten trennten,
wenn sie sich trotz dem letzten Kriegsgericht
bedrohen mit Granaten und Prozenten?

Du großer Gott, raff mich aus dem Gewühl!
Führ mich durch diese blutigen Räume.
Verwandle mir die Nacht zu dem Gefühl,
daß ich von deinem jüngsten Tage träume.

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Clinton Reiterates Backing For Strategic Ally Japan

January 19, 2013 1 comment

Xinhua News Agency
January 19, 2013

Commentary: U.S. endorsement of right-leaning Japan jeopardizes regional security
By Wang Fan

BEIJING: The United States pledged Friday stronger security ties with Tokyo’s new right-leaning administration and lent veiled support to Japan in the Diaoyu Islands dispute.

After a closed-door meeting with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed the U.S. alliance with Japan as “the cornerstone of American engagement with the region.”

U.S. explicit endorsement of a right-leaning Japan is sure to raise concerns among Asian countries, many of which still hold bitter memories of Japan’s wartime atrocities and are casting a wary eye on the newly installed hawkish administration in Tokyo.

There are reasons for them to stay alert. Japan’s rightists have shown little sincerity and willingness to apologize for Japan’s wartime atrocities.

Worse, instead of facing up to the past, several members of Japan’s new nationalistic administration have even attempted to put a fine gloss on the country’s militarist era by proposing to rewrite school textbooks.

The United States must tread carefully in its dealings with Japan. At this moment, Washington’s proposal for a tighter military alliance with Japan will only encourage Tokyo’s dangerously right-leaning tendency.

Since unveiling its “pivot to Asia” strategy, the United States has tried to cast itself as a constructive force in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific.

Washington’s failure to rein in nationalist sentiments in Japan will cast doubts on its credibility as a responsible power in the region.

It is also unwise for Washington to throw support behind Japan in Tokyo’s islands dispute with Beijing. This unbalanced position has betrayed its declared intention to stay neutral on the issue.

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Anatole France: Only two ways out of militarism – war and bankruptcy

January 19, 2013 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Anatole France: Selections on war

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Anatole France
From The Wicker-Work Woman (1897)
Translated by M.P. Willcocks

Anatole-France

“As for the Romans, they were not essentially a military people, since they made profitable and lasting conquests, in contradistinction to the true military nations, such as the French, for instance, who seize all, but retain nothing. 

“It is also to be noted that in Rome, in the time of the kings, aliens were not allowed to serve as soldiers. But in the reign of the good king Servius Tullius the citizens, being by no means anxious to reserve to themselves alone the honour of fatigue and perils, admitted aliens resident in the city to military service. There are such things as heroes, but there are no nations of heroes, nor are there armies of heroes. Soldiers have never marched save under penalty of death. Military service was hateful even to those Latin herdsmen who gained for Rome the sovereignty of the world and the glorious name of goddess among the nations. The wearing of the soldier’s belt was to them such a hardship that the very name of this belt, ærumna, eventually expressed for them the ideas of dejection, weariness of body and mind, wretchedness, misfortune and disaster. When well led they made, not heroes, but good soldiers and good navvies; little by little they conquered the world and covered it with roads and highways. The Romans never sought glory: they had no imagination. They only waged absolutely necessary wars in defence of their own interests. Their triumph was the triumph of patience and good sense.

“The make of a man is shown by his ruling passion. With soldiers, as with all crowds, the ruling passion, the predominant thought, is fear. They go to meet the enemy as the foe from whom the least danger is to be feared. Troops in line are so drawn up on both sides that flight is impossible. In that lies all the art of battle. The armies of the Republic were victorious because the discipline of the olden times was maintained in them with the utmost severity, while it was relaxed in the camp of the Allied Armies. Our generals of the second year after the Revolution were none other than sergeants like that la Ramee who used to have half a dozen conscripts shot every day in order to encourage the others, as Voltaire put it, and to arouse them with the trumpet-note of patriotism.” 

“That’s very plausible,” said M. Roux. “But there is another point. There is such a thing as the innate joy of firing a musket-shot. As you know, my dear sir, I am by no means a destructive animal. I have no taste for military life. I have even very advanced humanitarian ideas, and I believe that the brotherhood of the nations will be brought about by the triumph of socialism. In a word, I am filled with the love of humanity. But as soon as they put a musket in my hand I want to fire at everyone. It’s in the blood…”

***

“I feel that military service and taxation weigh so heavily on the Neapolitans as to make them sometimes regret the happy days of King Bomba and the pleasure of living ingloriously under an easy-going government. Neither tax nor conscription is popular with the Neapolitan. What is wanted is that statesmen should really open their eyes to the necessities of national life. But, as you know, I have always been an opponent of megalomaniac politics and have always deplored those great armaments which hinder all progress in Europe, whether it be intellectual, moral, or material. It is a great, a ruinous folly which can only culminate in farce.”

“I foresee no end to it at all,” replied M. Bergeret. “No one wishes it to end save certain thinkers who have no means of making their ideas known. The rulers of states cannot desire disarmament, for such a movement would render their position difficult and precarious and would take an admirable tool of empire out of their hands. For armed nations meekly submit to government. Military discipline shapes them to obedience, and in a nation so disciplined, neither insurrections, nor riots, nor tumults of any kind need be feared. When military service is obligatory upon all, when all the citizens either are, or have been, soldiers, then all the forces of social life are so calculated as to support power, or even the lack of it. This fact the history of France can prove.”

***

“Had not Europe,” said he, “been turned into a barrack, we should have seen insurrections bursting out in France, Germany, or Italy, as they did in former times. But nowadays those obscure forces which from time to time uplift the very pavements of our city find regular vent in the fatigue duty of barrack-yards, in the grooming of horses and the sentiment of patriotism.

“The rank of corporal supplies an admirable outlet for the energies of young heroes who, had they been left in freedom, would have been building barricades to keep their arms lissom. I have only this moment been told of the sublime speeches made by a certain Sergeant Lebrec. Were he dressed in the peasant’s blouse this hero would be thirsting for liberty, but clad in a uniform, it is tyranny for which he yearns, and to help in the maintenance of order the thing for which he craves. In armed nations it is easy enough to preserve internal peace, and you will notice that, although in the course of the last twenty-five years, Paris has been a little agitated on one occasion, it was only when the commotion was the work of a War Minister. That is, a general was able to do what a demagogue could not have done. And the moment this general lost his hold on the army, he also lost it on the nation, and his power was gone. Therefore, whether the State be a monarchy, an empire, or a republic, its rulers have an interest in keeping up obligatory military service for all, in order that they may command an army, instead of governing a nation.

“And, while the rulers have no desire for disarmament, the people have lost all wish for it, too. The masses endure military service quite willingly, for, without being exactly pleasurable, it gives an outlet to the rough, crude instincts of the majority and presents itself as the simplest, roughest and strongest expression of their sense of duty. It overawes them by the gorgeous splendour of its outward paraphernalia and by the amount of metal used in it. In short, it exalts them through the only ideals of power, of grandeur and of glory, which they are capable of conceiving. Often they rush into it with a song; if not, they are perforce driven to it. For these reasons I foresee no termination to this honourable calling which is brutalising and impoverishing Europe.”

“There are,” said Captain Aspertini, “two ways out of it: war and bankruptcy.”

“War!” exclaimed M. Bergeret. “It is patent that great armaments only hinder that by aggravating the horrors of it and rendering it of doubtful issue for both combatants. As for bankruptcy, I foretold it the other day to Abbe Lantaigne, the principal of our high seminary, as we sat on a bench on the Mall. But you need not pin your faith on me. You have studied the history of the Lower Empire too deeply, my dear Aspertini, not to be perfectly aware that, in questions of national finance, there are mysterious resources which escape the scrutiny of political economists. A ruined nation may exist for five hundred years on robbery and extortion, and how is one to guess what a great people, out of its poverty, will manage to supply to its defenders in the way of cannon, muskets, bad bread, bad shoes, straw and oats?”

Categories: Uncategorized

Getting Ready For War: Pentagon Boosts Military Cooperation With Azerbaijan

January 18, 2013 1 comment

Trend News Agency
January 17, 2013

Azerbaijan, U.S discuss military cooperation
E. Mehdiyev

imagesCARCL4DO

Baku: Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev has today received a delegation headed by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political Affairs of the U.S. Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, the Defense Ministry said today.

Stressing the development of bilateral relations in various spheres between Azerbaijan and the U.S., the minister discussed the positive results achieved in the field of military cooperation.

He updated the guest on the military-political situation in the region and the causes of the unresolved Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and stressed that the unresolved conflict keeps the entire region under threat.

Views on the relations in the defense field were widely expressed during the meeting.

During the meeting, Hicks expressed satisfaction with Azerbaijan’s participation in the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan and joint activity in the fight against terrorism. She stressed that the U.S intend to continue strategic cooperation with Azerbaijan on several issues.

The U.S Ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar also attended the meeting.

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The Messenger (Georgia)
January 18, 2013

Azerbaijan to increase its military expenditure

Azerbaijan will spend USD 3.7 billion for military purposes. In 2012, Azeri military expenditure was USD 3 billion.

In his speech at a government meeting on January 15th, President Ilham Alyev said Armenia is blocking peaceful negotiations over Karabakh…Azerbaijan will use all possible means to continue the isolation of Armenia. It will include political, economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Armenia.

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Panorama.am
January 17, 2013

Expert: Policy of Azerbaijan can make situation uncontrollable

“By increasing military expenses Azerbaijan threatens not only the Karabakh–Azerbaijani contact line, but also the Caspian Sea region,” said Tigran Abrahamyan, expert in political issues, commenting on the statement on Panorama.am that the military budget of Azerbaijan has increased by 700 million dollars compared with the previous year.

According to him, while studying the list of armaments and equipment Azerbaijan imports, it becomes clear that the expenses for its naval-military forces grow too. This means that this country has launched a serious struggle against Caspian Sea countries (mainly Iran and Turkmenistan).

“The growth of the Azerbaijani military budget is a great threat for the peace and stability of the region, which will surely have a negative effect over the negotiation processes. The threats of the Azerbaijani president and the military expenses there make it clear that this country is getting ready for war. These intentions show that the adventurism implemented by this country can make the situation uncontrollable,” T. Abrahamyan said.

To the question what step will Armenia undertake in that case, the expert noted, “The security guarantor of our country is our army and Armenia should do everything to increase the efficiency of our armed forces. It is not by chance that Armenia is importing modern military hardware, but also it promotes the development of military industry, creates corresponding infrastructures.”

To the question what will the reaction of the international community be about the abovementioned developments, T. Abrahamyan mentioned, “The international community and the power centers should increase pressure over Azerbaijan, which can be presented both by roughly criticizing Azerbaijan in reports and by limiting the sell-out of military hardware.”

According to him when Armenia states on the highest level that the only way to settle the NKR conflict is through peaceful negotiation, that doesn’t mean that Armenia is not ready for war or doesn’t consider it as a second variant of solving the conflict.

“It was not by chance that the RA [Republic of Armenia] president stated at the RPA Convention that the RA armed forces will not be engaged in exhausting and passive defense as they will be able to keep the region in security due to their mobility and efficiency. This also speaks about the fact that the efficiency of Armenian forces allows them to develop military operations on the territory of Azerbaijan and to force them a final peace,” summed up T. Abrahamyan.

Categories: Uncategorized

Thorstein Veblen: Habituation to war entails a body of predatory habits of thought

January 18, 2013 1 comment

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

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Thorstein Veblen
From The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899)

veblen319

It may not be entirely beside the point to note that in point of time this curious reversion seems to coincide with the culmination of a certain vogue of atavistic sentiment and tradition in other directions also. The wave of reversion seems to have received its initial impulse in the psychologically disintegrating effects of the Civil War. Habituation to war entails a body of predatory habits of thought, whereby clannishness in some measure replaces the sense of solidarity, and a sense of invidious distinction supplants the impulse to equitable, everyday serviceability. As an outcome of the cumulative action of these factors, the generation which follows a season of war is apt to witness a rehabilitation of the element of status, both in its social life and in its scheme of devout observances and other symbolic or ceremonial forms. Throughout the eighties, and less plainly traceable through the seventies also, there was perceptible a gradually advancing wave of sentiment favoring quasi-predatory business habits, insistence on status, anthropomorphism, and conservatism generally. The more direct and unmediated of these expressions of the barbarian temperament, such as the recrudescence of outlawry and the spectacular quasi-predatory careers of fraud run by certain “captains of industry”, came to a head earlier and were appreciably on the decline by the close of the seventies. The recrudescence of anthropomorphic sentiment also seems to have passed its most acute stage before the close of the eighties.

***

During that primitive phase of social development, when the community is still habitually peaceable, perhaps sedentary, and without a developed system of individual ownership, the efficiency of the individual can be shown chiefly and most consistently in some employment that goes to further the life of the group. What emulation of an economic kind there is between the members of such a group will be chiefly emulation in industrial serviceability. At the same time the incentive to emulation is not strong, nor is the scope for emulation large.

When the community passes from peaceable savagery to a predatory phase of life, the conditions of emulation change. The opportunity and the incentive to emulate increase greatly in scope and urgency. The activity of the men more and more takes on the character of exploit; and an invidious comparison of one hunter or warrior with another grows continually easier and more habitual. Tangible evidences of prowess — trophies — find a place in men’s habits of thought as an essential feature of the paraphernalia of life. Booty, trophies of the chase or of the raid, come to be prized as evidence of pre-eminent force. Aggression becomes the accredited form of action, and booty serves as prima facie evidence of successful aggression. As accepted at this cultural stage, the accredited, worthy form of self-assertion is contest; and useful articles or services obtained by seizure or compulsion, serve as a conventional evidence of successful contest. Therefore, by contrast, the obtaining of goods by other methods than seizure comes to be accounted unworthy of man in his best estate. The performance of productive work, or employment in personal service, falls under the same odium for the same reason. An invidious distinction in this way arises between exploit and acquisition on the other hand. Labor acquires a character of irksomeness by virtue of the indignity imputed to it.

With the primitive barbarian, before the simple content of the notion has been obscured by its own ramifications and by a secondary growth of cognate ideas, “honorable” seems to connote nothing else than assertion of superior force. “Honorable” is “formidable”; “worthy” is “prepotent”. A honorific act is in the last analysis little if anything else than a recognized successful act of aggression; and where aggression means conflict with men and beasts, the activity which comes to be especially and primarily honorable is the assertion of the strong hand. The naive, archaic habit of construing all manifestations of force in terms of personality or “will power” greatly fortifies this conventional exaltation of the strong hand. Honorific epithets, in vogue among barbarian tribes as well as among peoples of a more advance culture, commonly bear the stamp of this unsophisticated sense of honor. Epithets and titles used in addressing chieftains, and in the propitiation of kings and gods, very commonly impute a propensity for overbearing violence and an irresistible devastating force to the person who is to be propitiated. This holds true to an extent also in the more civilised communities of the present day. The predilection shown in heraldic devices for the more rapacious beasts and birds of prey goes to enforce the same view.

Under this common-sense barbarian appreciation of worth or honor, the taking of life — the killing of formidable competitors, whether brute or human — is honorable in the highest degree. And this high office of slaughter, as an expression of the slayer’s prepotence, casts a glamour of worth over every act of slaughter and over all the tools and accessories of the act. Arms are honorable, and the use of them, even in seeking the life of the meanest creatures of the fields, becomes a honorific employment. At the same time, employment in industry becomes correspondingly odious, and, in the common-sense apprehension, the handling of the tools and implements of industry falls beneath the dignity of able-bodied men. Labor becomes irksome.

It is here assumed that in the sequence of cultural evolution primitive groups of men have passed from an initial peaceable stage to a subsequent stage at which fighting is the avowed and characteristic employment of the group. But it is not implied that there has been an abrupt transition from unbroken peace and good-will to a later or higher phase of life in which the fact of combat occurs for the first time. Neither is it implied that all peaceful industry disappears on the transition to the predatory phase of culture. Some fighting, it is safe to say, would be met with at any early stage of social development. Fights would occur with more or less frequency through sexual competition. The known habits of primitive groups, as well as the habits of the anthropoid apes, argue to that effect, and the evidence from the well-known promptings of human nature enforces the same view.

[T]he point in question is not as to the occurrence of combat, occasional or sporadic, or even more or less frequent and habitual; it is a question as to the occurrence of an habitual bellicose frame of mind — a prevalent habit of judging facts and events from the point of view of the fight. The predatory phase of culture is attained only when the predatory attitude has become the habitual and accredited spiritual attitude for the members of the group; when the fight has become the dominant note in the current theory of life; when the common-sense appreciation of men and things has come to be an appreciation with a view to combat.

The substantial difference between the peaceable and the predatory phase of culture, therefore, is a spiritual difference, not a mechanical one. The change in spiritual attitude is the outgrowth of a change in the material facts of the life of the group, and it comes on gradually as the material circumstances favorable to a predatory attitude supervene. The inferior limit of the predatory culture is an industrial limit. Predation can not become the habitual, conventional resource of any group or any class until industrial methods have been developed to such a degree of efficiency as to leave a margin worth fighting for, above the subsistence of those engaged in getting a living. The transition from peace to predation therefore depends on the growth of technical knowledge and the use of tools. A predatory culture is similarly impracticable in early times, until weapons have been developed to such a point as to make man a formidable animal. The early development of tools and of weapons is of course the same fact seen from two different points of view.

The life of a given group would be characterized as peaceable so long as habitual recourse to combat has not brought the fight into the foreground in men’s every day thoughts, as a dominant feature of the life of man. A group may evidently attain such a predatory attitude with a greater or less degree of completeness, so that its scheme of life and canons of conduct may be controlled to a greater or less extent by the predatory animus. The predatory phase of culture is therefore conceived to come on gradually, through a cumulative growth of predatory aptitudes, habits, and traditions; this growth being due to a change in the circumstances of the group’s life, of such a kind as to develop and conserve those traits of human nature and those traditions and norms of conduct that make for a predatory rather than a peaceable life.

***

The most immediate and unequivocal expression of that archaic human nature which characterizes man in the predatory stage is the fighting propensity proper. In cases where the predatory activity is a collective one, this propensity is frequently called the martial spirit, or, latterly, patriotism. It needs no insistence to find assent to the proposition that in the countries of civilized Europe the hereditary leisure class is endowed with this martial spirit in a higher degree than the middle classes. Indeed, the leisure class claims the distinction as a matter of pride, and no doubt with some grounds. War is honorable, and warlike prowess is eminently honorific in the eyes of the generality of men; and this admiration of warlike prowess is itself the best voucher of a predatory temperament in the admirer of war. The enthusiasm for war, and the predatory temper of which it is the index, prevail in the largest measure among the upper classes, especially among the hereditary leisure class. Moreover, the ostensible serious occupation of the upper class is that of government, which, in point of origin and developmental content, is also a predatory occupation.

The only class which could at all dispute with the hereditary leisure class the honor of an habitual bellicose frame of mind is that of the lower-class delinquents. In ordinary times, the large body of the industrial classes is relatively apathetic touching warlike interests. When unexcited, this body of the common people, which makes up the effective force of the industrial community, is rather averse to any other than a defensive fight; indeed, it responds a little tardily even to a provocation which makes for an attitude of defense. In the more civilized communities, or rather in the communities which have reached an advanced industrial development, the spirit of warlike aggression may be said to be obsolescent among the common people. This does not say that there is not an appreciable number of individuals among the industrial classes in whom the martial spirit asserts itself obtrusively. Nor does it say that the body of the people may not be fired with martial ardor for a time under the stimulus of some special provocation, such as is seen in operation today in more than one of the countries of Europe, and for the time in America. But except for such seasons of temporary exaltation, and except for those individuals who are endowed with an archaic temperament of the predatory type, together with the similarly endowed body of individuals among the higher and the lowest classes, the inertness of the mass of any modern civilized community in this respect is probably so great as would make war impracticable, except against actual invasion. The habits and aptitudes of the common run of men make for an unfolding of activity in other, less picturesque directions than that of war.

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Japan: Main Pillar Of U.S. Plan For Asia-Pacific Domination

January 18, 2013 3 comments

China Daily
January 18, 2013

Japan’s grand Asia-Pacific strategy
By Wu Huaizhong*

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[B]esides the United States, Japan is so far the firmest supporter of the existing order. Japan’s grand Asia-Pacific strategy is a strong pillar in sustaining US hegemony and the Western-dominated order, which goes against the development trend and direction of the global situation in the post-crisis era…

Japan is deliberately diluting East Asia’s geopolitical and geo-economic significance, lowering the US’ wariness and pulling in the US.

Japan’s Asia-Pacific strategic adjustment is focused on strengthening the Japan-US alliance and trying to woo India, Australia and other countries to guard against China’s rise.

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In the post-crisis era, though Japanese politicians and pundits acknowledge the world is moving toward multi-polarization, their belief in “hegemonic stability” is still deep-seated and they recognize and support the Pax Americana in the Asia-Pacific region. Or, taking a step back, Japan at least believes in maintaining an order dominated by Western developed democracies in the Asia-Pacific and the fundamental task of Japan’s long-term foreign strategy is taking in emerging powers that are capable of challenging and revising this “order”.

Therefore, besides the United States, Japan is so far the firmest supporter of the existing order. Japan’s grand Asia-Pacific strategy is a strong pillar in sustaining US hegemony and the Western-dominated order, which goes against the development trend and direction of the global situation in the post-crisis era, and is also against the diversification and multi-polarization of the regional pattern of evolving democratization in international relations.

Japan once actively pushed forward regional cooperation in East Asia. But on seeing China’s fast economic growth, rising comprehensive strength and influence, Japan began to worry that China would take the leading role in promoting cooperation and constructing the regional order in East Asia. Thus, Japan began to advocate an expanded “East Asian Community”, augmenting the “10+3″, which comprises the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and South Korea, to “10+6″, with the inclusion of India, Australia and New Zealand, and is now pulling in the US.

In the economic field, Japan turned to Asia-Pacific cooperation from East Asian cooperation and intends to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Japan’s argument is that dealing with China’s “gigantism” and restricting it needs a big system or system expansion. In other words, with China’s development and growth in economic size, the regional framework and system restricting China should expand and extend correspondingly so as to dilute and counterbalance China’s power and influence.

In reality Japan is deliberately diluting East Asia’s geopolitical and geo-economic significance, lowering the US’ wariness and pulling in the US.

Japan’s actions have undermined or at least diluted the process of East Asian cooperation and become a negative factor in East Asian cooperation.

Since former Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama suffered a setback in turning Japan’s US-centric foreign policy to a more Asia-focused policy, Japan’s Asia-Pacific strategic adjustment is focused on strengthening the Japan-US alliance and trying to woo India, Australia and other countries to guard against China’s rise. In recent years, Japan has developed increasingly close relations with India and Australia, forming sorts of quasi-alliances.

The unfolding of Japan’s Asia-Pacific strategy is, to a large extent, centered on China and thus has an influence on China. In the economic field, Japan’s regional cooperation policy (advocating an expanded East Asian Community and promoting the TPP negotiations) will dilute China’s influence and make China face the pressure of an economic and trade hegemony led by the US and Japan. In a broad sense, this is a game scrambling for the leading role in East Asian cooperation.

Japan is trying to portray China as a revisionist country in the Asia Pacific, and intends to depict the competition between China and Japan as a battle between two forces, one that seeks to maintain the status quo, and one that seeks to challenge the existing order. In light of the Sino-Japanese disputes concerning maritime rights and interests and the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands, Japanese politicians have not only called for the US to jointly contain China’s “expansionist behavior”, they also went to Europe to garner sympathy.

Meanwhile, Japan is making every effort to uphold the US’ hegemony in the Asia-Pacific, and China faces increasing security and structural pressure from the Japan-US alliance. Japan’s Asia-Pacific strategy has added to China’s geopolitical difficulties and hindered China’s rise in the region.

Moreover, Japan’s military adjustment in a bid to match the US’ strategic rebalancing toward Asia will have a remarkable impact on China’s surrounding security environment. Japan is determined to develop a Dynamic Defense Force that can integrate its command, combat and intelligence with the those of US. Japan wants to ensure that it is capable of “island defense”, including the Diaoyu Islands, using its own forces, namely the Japan Self-Defense Forces, while ensuring that it has the US’ support should a conflict escalate.

The Self-Defense Forces will play a role in military surveillance, anti-submarine, air defense at sea, information sharing and become an important part within the framework of the US-Japan alliance in response to China’s military buildup and activities. The US and Japanese forces want to forge a linked unity to deal with China and blockade the Chinese navy and air force inside the island chain.

This means that for a long time to come, Japan’s strategy toward China will feature systematic competition, multilateral containment, military prevention, diplomatic distraction and economic competition, which in turn means more uncertainties for Sino-Japanese relations in a complicated transition period.

*The author is an associate researcher on Japanese studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The article is an excerpt from the Annual Report on Development of Asia-Pacific 2013.

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Japan’s Militarism Evocative Of That Preceding World War II

January 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Global Times
January 17, 2013

Time for Abe to leave hard-line diplomacy path
By Liu Gang

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Abe is kicking off a visit to Southeast Asian countries to boost ties. He is also reportedly going to write a letter to NATO in the face of China’s rising power. Meanwhile, he is seeking to amend the Peace Constitution and strengthen Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, which will increase tensions.

The current situation Japan faces is similar to what it experienced prior to World War II. A gloomy economy has led to the spread of militarism both among the public and politicians.

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At the end of 2012, the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan won the country’s election. Its significance for Japan’s politics goes much further than the election itself.

Japan’s economy is suffering. While Japan’s political parties are struggling to come up with policies to save the country, territorial disputes and the “China threat” theory ignite public sentiment. There is no doubt that newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make use of these issues.

Japanese leaders should have the strategic vision and courage to acknowledge the significance of a resolved Sino-Japanese relationship and the negative impact of the two remaining in a spat.

The initiative lies with Japan, or Abe specifically, to restore relations. However, the recent actions of Abe and his cabinet are worrying.

Abe is kicking off a visit to Southeast Asian countries to boost ties. He is also reportedly going to write a letter to NATO in the face of China’s rising power. Meanwhile, he is seeking to amend the Peace Constitution and strengthen Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, which will increase tensions.

The current situation Japan faces is similar to what it experienced prior to World War II. A gloomy economy has led to the spread of militarism both among the public and politicians. Its neighboring countries are worried that Japan may take the path of militarism and nationalism as it did in the past. A wise politician is needed to save Japan from the desperate situation it is in now. The following aspects are worth Abe’s consideration.

First, the leaderships of both sides need to restore mechanisms to boost mutual trust as soon as possible. In 2006 after the bilateral relationship worsened due to then prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, Abe paid a visit to China to mend ties. Now, China has lost confidence in Japanese leaders. It is Abe who should take the initiative to restore mutual trust.

Japan should also give up the so-called “nationalization” of the Diaoyu Islands and wait for opportunities for bilateral negotiations. Abe and his cabinet should communicate with China and make proposals and commitments to turn the East China Sea into an area for joint development and shared interests. Meanwhile, Japan should keep a cool head toward China’s development.

Last but not least, both should seek common ground while putting aside differences. A joint declaration can be signed to solve territorial disputes by either shelving them for future settlement or trying to resolve them now. Building a rational and comprehensive relationship is still essential for both.

The author is board chairman of the China Tourism Revitalization Union in Okinawa, Japan.

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